MENA Countries: What to Look for When Touring Uzbekistan

Not many people know what lies this far out in the Middle East, but Uzbekistan is definitely a tour-worthy country!

As a former member of the Soviet Union and one of the nations bordering Afghanistan, you would expect to find upheaval as Uzbekistan still works to make its place back into the free world. While it seems as though the transition isn’t exactly what the common folk would have wished for, it is still a country open now to tourists and one which holds treasures galore for those with an eye for history and art. If you’ve never been to Uzbekistan, here is some of what you can look for when touring the country:

But First, A Look at Uzbekistan Politics

Don’t get too carried away here, though. The country is still progressing in terms of hosting house guests.

Now ruled by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev since December 2016, it appears there has been little change in Uzbekistan politics. However, here and there you will see signs of progress Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, socialite daughter of former President Karimov, has made in human rights issues. Her passion is Uzbek children and her charitable works are her claim to fame.

The key takeaway is simply this: Enjoy the country but guard your tongue. Uzbekistan likes to hold tight reins on the press.

You Will Want to Tour the Mosques

Whether or not you are Muslim, when touring Uzbekistan you will certainly want to tour the mosques, of which there are many with a claim to world fame. This is one country with history that dates back several millennia and is best known as having been on the trade route from the Orient, the Silk Road. Uzbekistan is predominantly Muslim, with more than 88 percent of the population members of that faith, so you can expect the mosques to be exquisite. Some famous mosques include:

  • Dzhuma Mosque
  • Ak Mosque
  • Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Kalyan Mosque

All of which deserve a visit from westerners seeking to get up close to the history of Islam. Each is a work of art and national treasure in its own right, and tours are said to be offered for visitors to learn about the history of each. Whether or not you can take photographs inside is left up to the individual mosque, but it would be wise to ask before snapping.

If you’ve ever been here, drop us a pic in the comments below, we’d love to hear all about your trip!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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