I don’t know many people who have never heard of the Silk Road. For centuries, Uzbekistan was the centre of the trade routes of the Great Silk Road. Traders, explorers, scholars, conquerors – they all came here and left their mark on culture, architecture, religion and language. The names of cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are world-famous and although we in Europe consider Uzbekistan a strange destination, millions of people come here to experience the historic cities of this once so important trade route.

Today, Uzbekistan is a magnet for curious travellers interested in culture, history and exotic countries. The architectural monuments are the pride of the locals, as they have survived the ages and represent the heritage of their ancestors. Places such as the Ichan-Kala complex in Khiva and the historical centres of Bukhara and Samarkand are on the UNESCO list of “World Heritage Sites”. The unique monuments, magnificent mosques and madrasahs in these cities tell stories from an era that significantly shaped the country. Despite numerous attempts by foreign cultures to change the traditions and customs of the Uzbeks, these have been preserved over the centuries. The influence of Islam, spread by the Arabs in Central Asia, has strongly characterised the customs and traditions, but at the same time they are closely interwoven with the local culture and deeply rooted in the everyday life and minds of the Uzbek people. Despite the destruction of some historical buildings during the invasion of Tsarist Russia, they still remain witnesses to millions of people who appreciate art and culture.

Don’t forget to try the bread in Samarkand…
…there is no tastier bread than flatbread from Samarkand. A genuine flatbread from Samarkand should be edible for three years. All you need to do is sprinkle it with water and heat it in the tandur (clay oven in which flatbread is baked). Anyone who has ever been to Samarkand never leaves the city without Samarkand flatbread. This tradition has survived to this day and…
…every region of Uzbekistan has its own traditional cuisine, and the world-famous pilaf is prepared here in around a hundred different ways.

The Silk Road:
The history of this ancient trade route hides many secrets. Entire cultures have blossomed and faded, civilisations have appeared and disappeared, travellers have made groundbreaking discoveries, artisans have created monumental masterpieces. For centuries, the path of this route has remained intact, connecting China with the regions of Eurasia. No wonder that many legends and stories have been preserved along the “Road of Life”.

From the second century AD, it was silk in particular that was transported by Chinese traders to distant lands. Despite its high price, this compact and lightweight product attracted the attention of many traders along the caravan route, from Central Asia and Turkestan to India, Rome and Alexandria. Cleopatra seems to have had a passion for luxurious silk clothing, and in the early Christian centuries there was even a special silk market in Rome. One legend tells of Emperor Justinian of Byzantium in the sixth century, who commissioned two monks to bring precious mulberry silkworms from China. The monks are said to have hidden the “treasure” in a bamboo stick, as the discovery of the cocoons by the Chinese would have meant the death penalty for the clergy.
The exact circumstances are difficult to confirm today, but the centuries-old secret of silk production was finally revealed.
In addition to silk, bronze mirrors, porcelain, ceramics, paper goods and metal products were also shipped from China to distant lands. On the other hand, there was a strong demand in the Middle Kingdom, as China was known at the time, for jade from Hotan, lapis lazuli from Bodakhshan, Indian carpets, glass from the Mediterranean and horses from Fergana.


…and at night the cities of Uzbekistan glow with a unique oriental flair:

>>> Amir Temur

>>> Ulug beg 

>>> Avicenna oder Ibn Sina