25 Incredible Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is an undeniably beautiful country full of breathtaking architecture. If Uzbekistan isn’t on your travel radar, hopefully, this post will change that!  It is an enchanting country that will give you a glimpse into the past.  The famous Silk Road trade route from China to the Mediterranean includes many Uzbek cities. History buffs, foodies, culture lovers and photographers will all be delighted by all the amazing places to visit in Uzbekistan.

Hopefully, you read my post with tips for visiting Uzbekistan and now you want more detail about what to do.

Places to Visit in Uzbekistan


No visit to Uzbekistan would be complete without visiting the capital and it is usually the easiest place to fly into. Information about how to get to Uzbekistan in another post as well as how to get around.  Tashkent or Toshkent meaning “city of stone” is a city of 4 million people and historically an important location along the silk road. It a modern city but has an old section that is great to visit.

1.  Hast Imam Square (Hazrati Imam)

Hast-Imam is the religious center of Tashkent located in the old town. This complex appeared near the tomb of one of the first imam of Tashkent city, the famous scientist, a scholar of the Koran and Hadith, poet and craftsman Hazrati Imam.  On the territory of the Hast-Imam, there are few architectural monuments, including the madrasah of Barak-Khan, Tilla Sheikh Mosque, the Abu Bakr Mausoleum and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari, where future imans are taught.

Inside the mosque here, you can see the world-famous Quran of Caliph Uthman, written in the 8th century on deerskin (paper was not yet known in this region).

2.  Chorsu Bazaar

This is a must-visit in the old city. Under a huge blue dome is this largest market in Uzbekistan where daily life takes place. You can see mountains of spices, nuts, dried fruits as well as rows and rows of yogurt, cheeses, pickles noodles as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also an area where fresh bread is baked. I encourage you to sample everything possible!

3.  The Tashkent Metro

It is one of only two subway systems currently operating in Central Asia (the other one being the Almaty Metro). It was the seventh metro to be built in the former USSR, opening in 1977. Its stations are among the most ornate in the world. The metro is a convenient way to get around Tashkent and even if you don’t need to use it, you should if only to see how beautiful the various stations are. The station near the Yuri Gargarin (first man in space) monument has a cosmonaut theme which is super fun.  Rides are 1200 som each (less than 15cents).

4.  The Opera House

Looking for something different? I took the opportunity to see the opera La Traviata while here and it was only 50,000 UZS ($6 USD) and a great experience.

5.  Plov Center

This is THE place to try the Uzbek national dish, Plov. I’ve never seen so much rice in my life. It was fun to see how it’s made outside in the huge bowls. It’s delicious too!

6. Applied Art Museum

Dating back to 1927 this is a beautiful state museum holding over 7,000 samples handmade embroidery,  jewelry, carpets and other handcrafted goods from the early 19th century to the present. There is a beautiful gift shop as well.

Beautifully colorful tiled building with arched wooden doorways in Tashkent Uzbekistan

Places to Stay in Tashkent

Ichan Qala


Ichan Qala Hotel, Tashkent


Samarkand is Uzbekistan’s 2nd largest city.  This fabled ancient city is about 2700 years old. It is as old as Babylon and Rome and for many, it has a mythical quality similar to Zanzibar or Timbuktu.  Samarkand was the glorious capital of the Timurid empire ruled by Timur. His empire included Mongolia,  India (Hindistan), Iran,  Syria (Sham), Turkey and Armenia.  His descendants are Mughals who ruled India until the British arrived (including Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal).  I loved learning that bit of history and had to share it!
There is actually a flourishing modern city outside the boundaries of the old city but the old city is where all the stunning historical sights are. All are walking distance from each other as well with the exception of the paper mill.

7.  Registan Square

Registan was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand during the Timurid dynasty. It was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations and a place of public executions. It holds three madrassas (Islamic schools) of distinctive Islamic architecture

Registan is beautiful at sunset and at night when the lights come on. I actually enjoyed the night view of Registan Square the most. It was beautiful to walk around and see the courtyards light up with different colors.  Sometimes there are shows here at night as well.


8.  Gur-E-Amir Mausoleum

This is the shrine of Tamerlane, the legendary ruler from the 14th century.  Apparently, the Taj Mahal was modeled after this building.

At night, the Gur-E-Amir is simply stunning. It is a short walk from Registan Square and both are beautifully lit. I recommend seeing both sights by day and go back after dinner to see after dark.

9.  Shah-i-Zinda

This is the dazzling Shah-i-Zinda complex in Samarkand Uzbekistan.  It is perhaps the most stunning display of Persian influenced tile work anywhere in the country. This is a necropolis full of mausoleums, ritual buildings and a cemetery.  Legend is that Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the prophet Mohammed is buried here. I was awestruck by the brilliant blue mosaics. The cover photo is also from here.
Blue tile Mosque. Tips for Visiting Uzbekistan.

10.  Bibi Khanum Mosque

This one of the most important monuments of Samarkand. In the 15th century, it was one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. The favorite wife of Tamerlane, Saray Mulk Khanum, decided to build a mosque next to the bazaar. To make the mosque more majestic than the madrassah of Tamerlane, the queen ordered architects to erect the tallest building in the city, but a construction error led to the building’s ultimate destruction.

It was mostly ruined by the mid-20th century, but major parts of the mosque were restored during the Soviet period.

11.  Siyob Bazaar

This is the largest bazaar in Samarkand and located next to the Bibi Khanum mosque.  All daily necessities are sold here. It is a fun place to visit and witness local life but to also try different sweets and local delicacies.

12.  Meros Paper Mill

In village 5 km from Samarkand called Koni Ghil, you can visit this paper mill set amongst shady trees on the Siab River. It was founded by well-known masters the Mukhtarov brothers and is a renovated factory using ancient paper-making traditions. Everything is manual and is fascinating to watch. Paper making started in China as far back as 1 BC and after the Battle of the Talus River, the art was learned from Chinese prisoners.

Places to Stay in Samarkand

City Hotel

Sultan Boutique Hotel


Bukhara is another ancient city from the days of the Silk Road and has existed for over 2000 years. This 5th largest city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. It is like an open-air museum with 140 architectural monuments and is a UNESCO world heritage site.  The old city center is delightfully walkable and full of fabulous architecture, shopping and cafes, and history. I have listed some of the top things to see in Bukhara.

13.  Kaylan Mosque and Minaret

This stunning mosque in Bukhara, Uzbekistan was built in the early 1500s.  However, the minaret in the background was built earlier in 1127. This whole region was destroyed a hundred years later by Genghis Khan but he spared the minaret because it was so impressive. This is one of the few places in Central Asia NOT destroyed by Genghis Khan who in current lingo would be called a bad mofo!
The Kaylan Minaret is also known as the Tower of Death. According to legend criminals were executed and thrown off the top for centuries. Most minarets are for the muezzin to call people to prayer but this one seems to be more decorative since it much larger than it needs to be.

14.  Ark Fortress

This massive fortress was initially built and occupied around the 5th century AD. In addition to being a military structure, the Ark encompassed what was essentially a town that, during much of the fortress’ history, was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the region surrounding Bukhara. The Ark was used as a fortress until it fell to Russia in 1920. Currently, the Ark is a tourist attraction and houses museums covering its history.
Ancient Fortress. Tips for Visiting Uzbekistan

15.  Lyabi Hauz Ensemble

This is the former Jewish quarter of Uzbekistan and there is a lovely synagogue here. Everything centers around a pond and there are many shops and cafes and beautifully tiled buildings.

16.  Bolo-Khauz Mosque

This mosque was built in 1712, on the opposite side of the citadel of Ark in Registan district, Bolo Haouz Mosque is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with the other parts of the historic city. It served as a Friday mosque during the time when the emir of Bukhara was being subjugated under the Bolshevik Russian rule in 1920s.
Mosque with pillars in Uzbekistan. Tips for Visiting Uzbekistan

17.  Mausoleum of Bakhoutdin Naqshbandi

The Memorial Complex of Khoja Bakhouddin Naqshbandi is one of the most important Muslim shrines. As the burial place of one of Sufism’s leaders, Naqshbandi, this site is regularly visited by Muslim pilgrims from around the world Naqshbandi was the spiritual teacher of Amir Temur and made the hajj to Mekka 32 times. He encouraged people to be modest and rejected luxury.

18.  Sitorai-Mokhikhosa

This beautiful palace was the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir. Constructed in the Tsarist or Russian style, it looks completely different from most Bukharan architecture.

19.  Chor Minar

This mosque which was once part of a larger madrassa was built by Khalif Niyaz-Kul, a wealthy Bukharan of Turkmen origin in the 19th century.  The architectural style is unique to Bukhara and the story is that the 4 minarets didn’t function as a call to prayer but instead advertised the builder’s 4 eligible daughters.  Each tower had a slightly different design. It worked since they were all married.  See ladies, forget Tinder. Just have your father build a mosque minaret and then you wait.
Mosque with 4 minarets with teal tops. Tips for Visiting Uzbekistan

Places to Stay in Bukhara

Fatima Boutique

Boutique Hotel Minzifa

As-Salam Boutique Hotel


This ancient walled city was a “khanate” in the 1500s.  It was a place ruled by one of the descendants of Genghis Khan. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  This well-preserved city has the feel of a theme park yet has a dark history, one definitely downplayed by local guides. The city is well-known for being an important slave-trading market during the time of the Silk Road. Its proximity to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan made it a convenient trading market for slaves captured by the Turkmen tribesmen or Kazakh tribes from the steppes.

Itchan Kala is the old center of Khiva, where you will find most of the city’s attractions. Definitely get a guide to take you around as to not miss out on the secret courtyards and hidden places you would miss otherwise. It definitely gets crowded with tourists here which I didn’t expect so head out early or in the early evening for better photos!

10.  Islam Khoja Minaret

This 57m tall minaret resembles a lighthouse. You can climb it for excellent city views as well as some exercise! Beware the stairs are steep and windy. Not easy if you aren’t in the proper clothing for such activity.

Tips for Planning a Trip To Uzbekistan

21.  Watchtower

At the back right corner of the throne room in the Kuhna Ark, a door leads to a flight of steps up to the watchtower, the original part of the Ark. The fee to climb up here is definitely worth it, especially at sunset for city views.

22.  Tash Hauli

A palace inside the Itchan Kala with extraordinary decor, blue ceramic tiles, more than 150 rooms, and 9 courtyards.

23.  Juma Mosque

This Friday mosque is on the plain side but unique with its 218 intricately carved wooden columns that support the roof and lack of artificial lighting.

24.  Kuhna Ark

A fortress that used to be the residence of Khiva’s rulers. The ark presented a complex multi-yard composition, containing a house for khan, the members of his family, and dignitaries.

25.  Kalta Minor Minaret

A turquoise-tiled minaret begun in 1851 by Mohammed Amin Khan, who aspired for it to be 80m tall. Unfortunately, he dropped dead in 1855, leaving the structure unfinished at 29m, but still striking.

Places to See Uzbekistan

Make sure to walk around Khiva in the evening to see the old city aglow with soft lighting.

Places to Stay in Khiva

Orient Star

Qosha Darvoza

Shaherazada Hotel

Looking for more places to visit in Uzbekistan? I have covered the most visited cities but if you want to go deeper you could check out Moynaq on the Aral Sea.
Pin it!
Photos of Uzbekistan for Pinterest
Uzbekistan photos for Pinterest
Disclaimer: Wandering Redhead participates in affiliate marketing. What this means is if you purchase something through one of m links I may make a small commission, at NO EXTRA COST to you which goes towards the cost of running this blog.

About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. 30 Stunning Photos of Uzbekistan to Inspire a Visit - Wandering Redhead | 24th Aug 19

    […] Read More:  Places to Visit in Uzbekistan […]

  2. Jay Artale | 18th Aug 19

    Looks truly amazing … your main pic reminds me of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul …. thanks for sharing.

    • csaradar | 12th Nov 19

      Thank you!

  3. Nancy Hann | 17th Aug 19

    The colors in the architecture are amazing and I can just smell the spices! Thanks for the detailed post.

    • csaradar | 18th Aug 19

      They did smell good! Thank you!!

  4. Sage Scott | 17th Aug 19

    I am absolutely mesmerized by the amazing tiles and gorgeous architecture. Having never been to Uzbekistan, it feels a little bit like Lisbon meets Istanbul. Thanks for letting me travel along with you via your amazing photos and post!

    • csaradar | 18th Aug 19

      Glad you enjoyed. It is magnificent!

  5. myfabfiftieslife | 17th Aug 19

    Your photos are beautiful. this country is high on my list and I hope to visit in 2020. Have saved for future reference.

    • csaradar | 18th Aug 19

      I hope you do! I also have tips for planning and soon to do an itinerary:)

  6. Tips for Visiting Uzbekistan - Wandering Redhead | 13th Aug 19

    […] have more details in my post about places to visit in Uzbekistan as well as beautiful Uzbekistan photos that will make you want to plan a trip immediately.  […]

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.