2, Al-Beruniy Str., Urgench
Khalklar Dustligi Avenue 77 A, Navoiy
Free-Industrial Economic Zone, Navoiy
Malik-Rabot, Karmana District, Navoiy
Imam Buhari Street 1, Kokand
Malikrabat Village, Karmaninskiy Area, Navoiy
Uzbekistan has borders with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It is doubly landlocked, but includes the southern shoreline of the Aral Sea. It has the largest population among all the Central Asian countries.
Several of these were once great trading cities on the Silk Road.
The meaning of the name Uzbek is disputed. One version is that it is derived from Turkish 'uz/öz' ('good' or 'true') and 'bek' ('guardian').
Uzbekistan is rich in history. Samarkand was conquered by Alexander the Great. Islam was introduced by Arabs in the 8th-9th century. The most famous leader to come from Uzbekistan is Tamerlane who was born in Shahrisabz south of Samarkand. Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry.
Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, following the break up of the Soviet Union. In theory the country is a democracy, however, between 1991 and 2016 it was run by iron-fisted dictator Islam Karimov, whose security services are widely believed to have killed several hundred protesters in Andijan in 2005 and have been responsible for some severe breaches of the most basic human rights (torture and killings). The country is wealthy in natural resources, yet most of the money is distributed into the president's ruling elite, and much of the country still remains quite poor. Little power exists outside of the presidents family or his close allies. The country remains as the most corrupt out of any former USSR state.
Mostly midlatitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in east.
Uzbekistan measures 1450 km West to East and 930 km North to South.
Mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Syr Darya (Sirdaryo) and Zarafshon; Ferghana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west.
Jan 1 New Year (Yangi Yi Bayrami)
Mar 8 International Women's Day (Xalqaro Xotin-Qizlar Kuni)
Mar 21 Navroz (Persian New Year) (Navro'z Bayrami)
May 9 Remembrance Day, Peace Day or Liberation Day (Xotira va Qadirlash Kuni), remembering that Uzbek troops participated in the Soviet army and that 500.000 Uzbek soldiers were killed in World War II.
Sep 1 Independence Day (Mustaqillik Kuni), remembering the proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991
Oct 1 Teachers' Day (O'qituvchi va Murabbiylar Kuni)
Dec 8 Constitution Day (Konstitutsiya Kuni), remembering the proclamation of the first constitution of independent Uzbekistan in 1992.
Holidays in accordance with the lunar year: the dates of these holidays vary according to the lunar calendar.
Visas are required for everyone apart from passport holders of CIS countries. A 'Letter of Invitation' (LOI) is no longer required by citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom, but is still required for most others, e.g. for Canadian & US citizens under the simplified visa procedure .
To apply for a visa complete the application form from here, print out the resulting pdf and take to your printed form, together with some photos and a photocopy of your passport to your nearest Uzbek embassy. They will then ask the MFA in Tashkent for permission to issue a visa, which takes 7-14 days. Once this permission is granted you can pick up your visa. To avoid two trips to the embassy you can get an LOI in advance (by email) and once approval has been granted you can pick up your visa from your chosen embassy in only 1 visit - this is handy for people travelling who want to pick up a visa 'on the go'. An LOI can be obtained from travel companies when a hotel booking is made. Talk to your local travel agent in your own country. The LOI will typically cost US$30-40 for a short stay. For the latest information see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  .
Within 3 days of entrance to the country, you need to make a registration, an official statement indicating the address you are staying at. If you stay at reasonable hotels, they will do it by default, however if you stay at a house, you will face a lot of bureaucratic paperwork in order to register yourself.
When you enter Uzbekistan expect fairly lengthy immigration and passport procedures, but these are fairly painless. In particular you will be asked to declare all the money you are bringing into the country - don't worry about this - declare everything you have and make sure you have less money when you leave. The Uzbek government doesn't want precious foreign currency leaving the country.
The main airport of Uzbekistan is the Tashkent International Airport "Yuzhniy" (IATA: TAS). The airport itself is reasonably modern and has various international carriers operating as well as the national Uzbekistan Airways. Though the airport infrastructure is good, the staff is not. Expect pointless bureaucracy and an unhelpful attitude from most of them. Baggage claim and customs procedures can be time-consuming - allow two hours. For more information see the Taskent#By plane section.
There are roads from surrounding countries but the borders may not be open and there have been security problems. There is a risk of land mines in some border areas.
The Friendship Bridge, 10 km south of Termiz, links Afghanistan with Uzbekistan.
There are only two border crossings between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan :
It is about 55 km from Dushanbe to the border at Denau. Taxis depart from Zarnisar Bazaar in Dushanbe. A seat in a taxi will cost about 8TJS and the trip will take about 90 minutes. There are Miníbusses from the border to the town of Denau. From there you will have to take a shared taxi to Samarkand.
You will have to take a shared taxi from Penjikent to the Tajik-Uzbek border (5 TJS, 22 km) and another one from the border to Samarkand (about 50 km).
When land borders are open, buses run to all neighbouring countries.
Apart from the southern section of the inland Aral sea, Uzbekistan is land-locked. In fact, it's one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world - the other being Liechtenstein.
The most comfortable way to travel between the major tourist cities in Uzbekistan is by train. The main line Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara is served once a day in each direction by two express trains named "Afrosiob" and "Sharq": The Afrosiob is a Talgo-250-type train that makes a respective distance in 2.5 hours to Samarkand and the "Sharq" makes the 600-km-journey Tashkent - Bukhara (with intermediate stop in Samarkand) in less than 7 hours. A daily overnight train to and from Tashkent to Bukhara offers the possibility to travel during the night and so a day is not lost travelling. Comfortable sleeping cars allow a good sleep.
From Tashkent (Timetable from summer 2014)
To Tashkent (Timetable from summer 2014)
Unlike to ordinary local trains the express trains have three classes: The economy class (2nd) with 36 persons per carriage and still plenty of space and comfort, the business class (1st) and the VIP class (expect some free drinks and snacks). The Afrosiob is the fastest and most expensive train which costs from Tashkent to Samarkand for 2nd/1st/VIP 51,000/68,000/98,000 soms. Doing the same trip with the Sharq will save you around 22,000 soms ($7) in each class, but increases the travel time for almost 1.30h.
Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (3 times weekly) and to Nukus - Kungrad (2 times weekly), so it's also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train. On thursdays, there is an overnight train in Urgench that also stops in Bukhara.
There are four types of sleepers:
Book your ticket well in advance (booking at the day of departure is sometimes impossible: trains can get full or computer problems can make booking impossible). If you go and buy the ticket yourself, you'll have to show your passporte. Some basic Russian can come in handy as well. Or you can book your ticket via a travel agency in Uzbekistan (e.g. Advantour, Peopletravel or Orexca).
The second best option, and an experience. Don't be put off - these are pretty safe as far as the people go, the roads are a different story - when they exist! But for getting between Nukus and Khiva, or Khiva to Urgench to Bukhara, this is the only realistic way to go.
The taxi driver will have a destination city - so at the ranks ask around for the city you're headed to. If you match, you then negotiate a rate. Ask around beforehand, you can quite easily get ripped off, because each passenger negotiates separately with the driver, so he can charge locals normal rates and take you for all you have.
Once you've done that, you wait. The car only leaves when full, or when the driver gets bored enough. If possible, get the front passenger seat - 'only a lemon takes the middle seat'. Don't be polite about this - you do NOT want that middle seat. When it's over 50°C in the middle of the desert, with no air conditioning (you pay extra for a car with that), you want to be as close to a window as possible, and with only one person sweating against you!
Also, the roads are slow and sometimes barely existent - dirt tracks with potholes. It takes 6-8 hours from Urgench to Bukhara if you're lucky. Still, the car will probably make it - when you do this section you'll understand why you don't want to risk the bus.
Bus travel is only for the truly adventurous and not for anyone in a hurry in Uzbekistan. Except for special tours, buses are old, decrepit, crowded, painfully slow and prone to frequent breakdowns. If you do travel any distance on a bus in Uzbekistan, take toilet paper with you and be careful what you eat at stops along the way.
You can travel by private taxi, minibus, or normal bus. While there are official taxis, most cars will become taxis if you wave them down. Meters are rare, so negotiate the price beforehand.
Drive on the right. International driving permit required. Minimum age: 17. Speed limit: 60 to 80 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on highways.
There are several paved highways with two lanes in Uzbekistan:
During the day the metro (underground train) is the good option. After 12 midnight you are recommended to use taxi services. It is better to call the taxi (car-service) to pick you up in advance. Some car-services can serve the foreign speaking tourists. You can get more information in the hotel.
The sole official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek. The majority of citizens are ethnic Uzbeks and speak it as their first language, though due to its history as part of the Soviet Union, many also speak Russian, which continues to be a compulsory second language in all schools. There are also significant numbers of ethnic Tajiks and Kazakhs in Uzbekistan, primarily speaking their native tongue as a first language. In Samarkand and Bukhara, for instance, one is just as likely to hear Tajik being spoken as Uzbek. Russian is widely spoken especially in the cities. In Tashkent the majority of the population speak Russian and one is just as likely to hear it being spoken on the street as Uzbek.
In the semi-autonomous region of Karalkalpakstan in western Uzbekistan, the ethnic Karalkalpaks speak their own language, which is related to Kazakh. Many Karalkalpaks also speak Russian.
In the cities, more and more people speak English, especially those in the hotel and catering trades. However, English is still generally not widely spoken, so if you cannot speak Uzbek, Russian would be your best bet.
Uzbekistan has preserved a rich architectural heritage. The construction of monumental buildings was seen as a matter of prestige, emphasizing the power of the ruling dynasty, leading families and higher clergy. The external appearance of towns was determined to a great extent by their fortifications. The walls were flanked at regular intervals by semicircular towers and the entrances to towns were marked by darwazas (gates). These gates usually had a high vault and a gallery for lookout and were flanked by two mighty towers. The doors were closed at night and in case of danger. Along the main streets were rows of shops, specialized in different goods, and many skilled craftsmen had their workshops in these stalls. The most important covered markets are called tag, tim or bazaars (shopping passages( and charsu (crossroads, literally "four directions"). In big cities the ark (fortress) was the administrative center. It contained the emir's palace, chancellery, treausry, arsenal and the jail for high-ranking prisoners. The towns also had large public centres, consisting of a maydan (open square) surrounded by large buildings for civil or religious purposes.
The currency of the country is the Uzbekistani so‘m, denoted in Cyrillic as "сўм" (ISO code: UZS).
However, Uzbekistan finds itself in the curious situation of having a huge trade surplus (from its energy exports) but also having a parallel black market exchange rate. As of August 2015 the black market exchange rate was around 4,500 som to the US dollar, making it worth the effort to avoid official exchange offices. The 1,000 som notes are the most popular; hence, you will be carrying around bricks of currency, so ask for the 5,000 som notes, which are easily available on request. The US dollar was definitely the foreign currency of choice, but nowadays the euro is also accepted everywhere. The best place for exchange in Tashkent is Chorsu Bazaar, although currency exchange can be easily done at other places as well.
ATMs do work with foreign cards, but operate at the official exchange rate, and are usually empty. Hence it's better to prepare sufficient dollars to avoid such a situation. Some cash machines do dispense US dollars - however, be careful of withdrawing a large number of dollars and then leaving Uzbekistan with more money than you declared when you entered.
In Uzbekistan people traditionally buy goods at bazaars. Prices are fixed in department stores only. In bazaars, private shops and private souvenir stores haggling is part of the game. Bazaars are the best place to observe the daily life of the locals. The Alayski Bazaar is one of the oldest and most famous bazaars of Central Asia. You will find beautiful rugs, silk, spices, handicrafts and traditional clothes in the Eski Djouva and Chor Su bazaars in the Old City of Tashkent.
Typical souvenirs are:
When you go to restaurants, always ask for menu or price if they do not provide one. While some of the well-established restaurants are surprisingly good value by Western standard, some of the random or less popular restaurants try to take advantage of tourists by ripping off up to 5 times of normal price.
Being an historic crossroads and part of numerous empires, Uzbek food is very eclectic in its origins. Indian, Iranian, Arab, Russian, and Chinese influences are present in this unique cuisine.
There are two national drinks of Uzbekistan: tea and vodka (result of more than a century of Russian domination of the land).
A mind-numbing variety of brands of wine and vodka are available almost everywhere.
Visitors should consider tap water to be unsafe to drink in regions, while in capital of Uzbekistan the water is safe for drinking. In any case drinking bottled water is advised.
In Tashkent there are various night (dance) clubs and restaurants. They usually work till late night/early morning. Take enough cash because drinks and snacks are much more expensive than in daytime restaurants. Also you can find overnight Uzbek "chill-out" restaurants where you enjoy traditional food laying on large wooden sofas (tapchans/suri). It is not recommended to hang out on the street or parks after 11PM Even if you do not face problems with criminals you definitely attract unwanted interest of local police(militsiya) patrolling the area.
There are many hotels in the country. In Tashkent there are various types of hotels you can stay, it can cost you US$60 and more depending on how much you're willing to pay for your pleasure in hotel.
The areas of Uzbekistan bordering Afghanistan should be avoided for all but essential travel. Extreme caution should also be exercised in areas of the Ferghana Valley bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. There have been a number of security incidents in this region, as well as several exchanges of gunfire across the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border. Some border areas are also mined. Travellers should therefore avoid these areas and cross only at authorized border crossing points.
For the most part, Uzbekistan is generally safe for visitors, perhaps the by-product of a police state. There are many anecdotal (and a significant number of documented) reports of an increase in street crime, especially in the larger towns, particularly Tashkent. This includes an increase in violent crime. Information on crime is largely available only through word of mouth - both among locals and through the expat community - as the state-controlled press rarely, if ever, reports street crime. As economic conditions in Uzbekistan continue to deteriorate, street crime is increasing.
Normal precautions should be taken, as one would in virtually any country. Especially in the cities (few travellers will spend much time overnight in the small villages), be careful after dark, avoid unlighted areas, and don't walk alone. Even during the day, refrain from openly showing significant amounts of cash. Men should keep wallets in a front pocket and women should keep purses in front of them with a strap around an arm. Avoid wearing flashy or valuable jewellery which can easily be snatched.
Scams are not unheard of. One of the most common (and one that is not limited to Uzbekistan) involves a stranger coming up to the victim and saying they have found cash lying on the street. They will then try to enlist you in a complicated scheme that will result in you "splitting" the cash - of course only after you have put up some of your own. The entire scenario is ludicrous, but apparently enough greedy foreigners fall for it that it continues. If someone comes up to you with the "found cash" routine, tell them straight away that you are not interested (in whatever language you choose) and walk away.
Also beware of locals you don't know who offer to show you the "night life." This should be completely avoided, though some visitors seem to leave their common sense at home.
While all of these precautions should be observed during travel virtually anywhere in the world, for some reason many tourists in Uzbekistan seem to lower their guard. They should not.
It is also possible that you will be asked by police (Militsiya) for documents. This doesn't happen often, but it can, and they have a legal right to do so. By law, you should carry your passport and visa with you in Uzbekistan, though in practice, it is better to make a color scan of the first two pages of your passport and your Uzbek visa before you arrive. Carry the colour copies with you when you're walking around, and keep the original documents in the hotel safe. The scanned documents will almost always suffice. If not, make it clear to the Militsiya officer that he will have to come to your hotel to see the originals. Unless they have something out of the norm in mind (such as a bribe) they will almost always give you a big smile and tell you to go along. Always be polite with the Militsiya, but also be firm. While almost all of them take bribes, they take them from locals. For the most part, they understand that going too far with a foreigner will only cause them problems, especially if the foreigner is neither being abusive nor quaking with fear.
One note about locals offering to show you around: It is common for younger Uzbeks (usually male) who speak English to try and "meet" foreigners at local hotels and offer to serve as interpretors and guides. This is done in daylight and in the open, often in or near some of the smaller but better hotels. This can be rewarding for both the local and the visitor. The local is usually trying to improve their English or French (occasionally other languages, but usually English) and to make a few dollars/euros. If you are approached by a clean-cut person offering such services, and you are interested, question them about their background, what they are proposing to do for you and how much they want to charge you (anywhere between $10-$25 a day is realistic depending on their services and how long they spend with you). Most of the legitimate offers will be from young people who have studied in the West on exchange programs and/or studied at the University of World Diplomacy and/or Languages in Tashkent. If everything seems to fit, their language skills are good and they seem eager and polite, but not pushy, you may want to consider this. They should offer to show you museums, historical sites, cafés, bazaars, cultural advice, generally how to get around, etc. They should ask you what you want to see and/or do. Often this works out well. However, for your and their protection, do not attempt to engage in political discussions of any type.
Again, if they are proposing "night life" (or related) services, do NOT take up their offers.
Due to sliding relationships between the USA and Uzbekistan over the past years the US State Department has strongly discouraged travel to Uzbekistan by American citizens.
Uzbekistan has not implemented a no-smoking policy in bars and restaurants, unlike many Western countries. Consequently, enclosed spaces can be very unpleasant for non-smokers, especially in the cold weather.
Fruits and vegetables should be peeled before consumption. Avoid drinking Uzbek (locally produced) vodka. Most Uzbek Vodkas are not good even dangerous to your health.
In Uzbekistan, and in Central Asia in general, elderly people are greatly respected. Always treat the elderly with great respect and be deferent to them in all situations. Also be polite with females. Traditionally it is not welcomed to flirt openly with women. If you are a male and there is an option to address a male with the question instead of female, choose it.
Mobile connection works in most parts of Uzbekistan and the services are cheap. There are several popular mobile service providers in Uzbekistan - Ucell , Beeline, MTS (MTC in Cyrillic), Perfectum Mobile. A foreigner can get a SIM card after showing his passport. For activating the cell phone connection a person has to be registered. Generally some vendors are not aware of the law and refuse to sell to foreigners.
You can find Internet cafés in most of the cities. Speeds can sometimes be fast but generally speed is relatively slow.
Colin Thubron, The Lost Heart of Asia, 1994, Penguin
Bound by sand and snow, fed by meltwater from the Roof of the World, the fertile oases across Uzbekistan attracted the greatest travellers and conquerors in history along the fragile threads of the Silk Road. Central to this ancient trade route, the turqu
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher
Lonely Planet Central Asia is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Sample lamb kebabs and nan bread from roadside grills, hike through the spectacular canyons of the Kyrgyz Alatau Range, or marvel at Yasaui Mausoleum's beautiful architecture; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Central Asia and begin your journey now!
Inside Lonely Planet's Central Asia Travel Guide:Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money, and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, the Silk Road, religion, art, literature, film, music, architecture, landscapes, border crossings, outdoor activities, wildlife, environment, and cuisine Over 65 maps Coverage of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Almaty, Taraz, Astana, Tashkent, Khorezm, Karakalpakstan, Bishkek, Tamchy, Naryn, Dushanbe, Khojand, Khorog, Ashgabat, Merv, and more
eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices)Zoom-in maps and images bring it all up close and in greater detail Downloadable PDF and offline maps let you stay offline to avoid roaming and data charges Seamlessly flip between pages Easily navigate and jump effortlessly between maps and reviews Speedy search capabilities get you to what you need and want to see Use bookmarks to help you shoot back to key pages in a flash Visit the websites of our recommendations by touching embedded links Adding notes with the tap of a finger offers a way to personalise your guidebook experience Inbuilt dictionary to translate unfamiliar languages and decode site-specific local terms
Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Bradley Mayhew, Mark Elliott, Tom Masters and John Noble.
About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.
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Join a group of travellers as they visit Uzbekistan and celebrate Navrus (New Year) in Samakand, the centre of Central Asian culture. Journey to the ancient walled city of Khiva and spend time at some of most amazing bazaars in Asia. . After you have read this account you’ll feel like you’ve been there.This short travelogue is ideal reading for people who love travel and travel stories.
Culture Smart! Uzbekistan will take you beyond the standard descriptions of minarets, kebabs with vodka, embroidered skullcaps, and Soviet-style bureaucracy. It will make you aware of the value systems, attitudes, and behaviors of the different cultural groups in the country, and offer an insider’s view of Uzbekistan’s fascinating history, national traditions, various cuisines, and cultural scene. It will tell you what the peoples of Uzbekistan are like at home, at play, and in business, and give practical advice on how to behave in different situations so as to make the most out of your visit. Uzbekistan is a land of paradoxes, both enjoyable and surprising for foreign visitors. It is famous for its fabulous architectural monuments and the exotic spirit of the Great Silk Road, the ancient trade route connecting East and West. Uzbekistan is a multicultural society where old and revived traditions coexist with modernity.
A brief yet detailed report on the country of Uzbekistan with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.
Conjuring images of nomadic horsemen, spectacular monuments, breathtaking scenery and crippling poverty, Central Asia remains an enigma. Home to the descendants of Jenghiz Khan’s Great Horde, in the nineteenth century the once powerful Silk Road states became a pawn in the ‘Great Game’ of expansion and espionage between Britain and Russia, disappearing behind what would become known as the ‘Iron Curtain’. With the collapse of the USSR, the nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were born. Since independence, Central Asia has seen one civil war, two revolutions and seven dictators. An insightful mix of travel, history and reportage, in Does it Yurt? journalist Stephen M. Bland takes the reader on a voyage of discovery. Travelling to a desert sea, a collapsed Russian gas rig daubed the ‘Gate to Hell’ and along the ‘Heroin highway’ atop the roof of the world, the author sets out to explore these lands, unearthing the stories of the people and places behind this fascinating region. Written sharply, vividly… If you’re looking for an antidote to chirpy travel-guide descriptions of Central Asia, then this is the book for you.’ — Sam Tranum, author of Daily Life in Turkmenbashy’s Golden Age. ‘Packed with insights into every corner of the region.’ — Paul Wilson, Trailblazer Guides writer and author of The Alphabet Game. ‘Weaves together my favourite elements of a travelogue: historical context and current observations mixed with a dry sense of humour and amusing anecdotes... Does it Yurt? will result in my journey to Central Asia being that much more rewarding.’ — Ric Gazarian, author of 7000KM To Go and Hit the Road India; top 500 travel blogger. ‘Stephen M. Bland’s writing captures the magical whirlwind flavour of Central Asia in this very perceptive and insightful book. Those who have visited this wonderful part of the world will instantly recognise and reminisce on the many stories of potholed journeys by shared taxi, generous encounters with friendly locals and the inevitable run-ins with bumbling bureaucracy. Those who haven’t yet visited will be inspired to book their next adventure as soon as they can put the book down. A thrilling ride from start to finish.’ — Nick Rowan, author of Friendly Steppes: A Silk Road Journey 'Deserves to be shared among friends, as well as having a designated place on your shelves. Stephen M. Bland succeeds in bringing the region alive, and his story is an interesting and hard-to-decline invitation to join in his travels.' — Eugenette Morin, writer
From the blue-tiled splendor of Tamerlane's Samarkand to the holy city of Bukhara, which boasts a mosque for each day of the year, and beyond to the desert-girdled khanate of Khiva, Uzbekistan lays claim to a breathtaking architectural legacy. Bound by sa
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Incidents of violence have occurred in the mountainous border area where the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan meet.
The border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on the road between Tashkent and Samarkand is closed. Contact the Consulate of Canada in Tashkent for up-to-date information prior to travelling to the Tajikistan border.
Heightened tensions throughout the region, together with increased threats globally from terrorism, may put you at risk. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times. Exercise caution, particularly in tourist areas, in commercial and public establishments (hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship) and at outdoor recreation events.
Violent crime against foreigners has occurred. Street crime has increased, especially after dark in urban centres.
Foreigners have been robbed by individuals posing as police officers. If approached, ask to see police credentials or offer to go to the police station.
Do not travel alone after dark and do not show signs of affluence.
Driving standards in Uzbekistan are poor. Many roads outside Tashkent are in poor condition, particularly in the Tian Shan and Fan Mountains. Driving at night is dangerous. Rural roads and highways are not lit.
Use officially marked taxis only and do not share taxis with strangers.
Exercise caution when travelling by train, especially overnight. Store valuables in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Ensure that the door is secured from the inside.
When travelling by rail or road in Uzbekistan, it is sometimes necessary to cross into neighbouring countries. Consult the Entry/Exit Requirements tab for more information.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Police frequently stop drivers for minor infractions or simple document checks. Foreigners may face harassment, including demands for money.
Carry identification at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport and to leave another one with a relative or a friend at home.
Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Tourist facilities are limited.
Dial 01 for firefighters, 02 for police or 03 for an ambulance.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Asia, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Religious proselytizing is illegal. It is punishable by penalties and/or imprisonment for up to 15 days and could lead to deportation.
Homosexual activity is illegal. Convicted offenders may face jail sentences.
Photography of public transportation is prohibited and may result in confiscation of equipment or detention.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times.
Canadians with Uzbek citizenship may be subject to national obligations, such as taxes. Check your status with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C., prior to departure.
Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to, particularly in rural areas. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
The currency is the Uzbek sum (UZS), which is used for most transactions. However, U.S. dollars can also be used. Carry bills in pristine condition, as well-worn or used U.S. banknotes may not be accepted. Only a few major hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. Traveller's cheques can only be cashed at the National Bank of Uzbekistan. Purchasing money on the black market is illegal and may result in extortion or jail sentences. There are no automated banking machines.
Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone.