Anthropologically significant, culturally rich histories written on Silk Road, but now struggling between the socialist-old and the democratic-new:
I am not a travel expert per se. Actually It was my first-time ever trip made in an extended way except one that was done years ago at work for business.
For tour attractions of Uzbekistan, there will be more peoples before me who can explore them better.
In fact, there were two in our tour group who have published their own tour books covering more than 50 countries for each, and most of the group have been traveling regularly in their later-year lives.
Silk Road, Islamic renaissance and empires in Central Asia sound strange to us since we are living in Anglo-American society on the both sides of Atlantic ocean. For most of us it doesn't even convincing when a group of world economic-historians says that the Indy-China, then the two of world powers, used to produce the 2/3 of global outputs except for last a couple of centuries. When the two powers played the world dominantly, thanks to geographical location, Uzbekistan was the center of business as a cross-road of northern and southern Silk Roads for caravan.
As far as architectural beauties are concerned in their scale as well as details, mosques, minarets, fortresses and museums in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva in Uzbekistan can arguably compete with those of in Italy or Turkey. The traces of empires - Amir Timur, Bukhara, part of Achaemenid - and conquerors like Alexander the great, Timur, Genghis Khan - were abundant throughout the regions. Unearthed remains from the palaeolithic, neolithic and new stone age have been well documented by mostly Russian anthropologists, and displayed in museums around magnificently enough to keep visitors eyes wide open and stuck on them.
For instance, the Ulugh Beg observatory in Samarkand built in the 1420s by astronomer Ulugh Beg made our face blushed in it's scale and scientific in-depth, and they contend that they measured durance of one-year most accurately to the minutes. The astronomers and mathematicians who worked there include Al-Kashi, Ali Qushji, and Ulugh Beg himself, who conferred and competed with the top scientists in the world at the time; our local tour guide Bella said.
The statute of Al-Khwārizmi was standing tall at the square of city, who invented or innovated algorithm, algebra and algebraic analysis which preceded the current Indian system of numeration. Great poets and advanced medicine scholars were telling that Uzbekistan was once the center of world academy.
Breaking up from the Soviet Union, the country is still struggling in economy between the legacy of old-Russian and new free-market democratic system.
People in the street, however, looked so happy faced and innocent looking. People were kind and lovable to approach to take a picture together wherever we go. When they noticed we are Koreans, they came close to us to talk, and thumbed up their finger saying, "Korea number one." They chanted loudly "Jumong! Jumong!(드라마 주몽)" The 90% of our flight was filled with Uzbekistan workers who found jobs in Korea, and they had only positive image with Korea forgetting any unfair treatments by some employers in Korea.
The nation is religiously Islamic, Sunni mostly, but were strictly secular in all public area, and the government was very serious about it. About 130 ethnic originals are peacefully living together. And, to surprise, they often times spoke a luxurious word 'Tolerance' which is not easy to say even in America today.
All these discoveries and adventures were made in easy, comfortable and enjoyable way, thanks to the tourism veteran, Hans Travel. Everything was done personal touch with a great deal of professionalism. Carefully choreographed schedule, hotel, restaurant and best tour guide in town who's vast amount of knowledge topped our imaginations. During the trip there was an extra pleasure to me to watch Hans Travel's doing business making good sense for everybody. Everything was done in professional manners but commercial ones. Thank you Han's travle, and see again in a near future.
May 19th, 2015
Ulugh Beg's Astronomical Observatory
changing money($300) in uzbekistan welcome to madness