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The Silk Road Cities of Uzbekistan: join ROMtravel to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan.

Samarkand, Tashkent, Bukhara, and Khiva. The names of these cities evoke the romance of the Silk Road and the mystery of central Asia. All are in modern-day Uzbekistan, formerly part of the USSR but independent since 1991.

What is now Uzbekistan had its heyday when the Silk Road, for centuries the main trade route between China and the West, brought wealth and sophistication to the cities through which it passed. This prosperity resulted in impressive mosques, madrassahs (religious schools), and mausoleums, all covered with beautiful and intricate tile work. Patterns rendered in glossy turquoise, blue, and white tiles include calligraphy, sumptuous Persian-carpet-like designs of stylized foliage, and occasionally animals and birds.

The area's history is studded with empire builders, including the Persian king Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan. However, none had more impact than Timur ("the Lame," known as Tamerlane), who ushered in the region's most illustrious period. Timur and his descendants were avid builders and the glory of Uzbekistan to this day is its Timurid architecture, comparable to that in Iran (Persia). Timur made Samarkand his capital and rebuilt it using the finest artisans and materials from all across his extensive empire.

Each of the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan offers unique treasures to discover. Tashkent, the capital and arrival point for international flights, is a large modern city, having been largely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1966. Yet most of the women continue to wear colourful traditional dress, and wonderful handmade local crafts, including rugs and embroidery, are sold in the domed Chorsu Bazaar, much as they would have been in the days of the Silk Road.

Samarkand is home to Uzbekistan's most iconic sight, the Registan, a spectacular square surrounded by Timurid buildings covered in exquisite tilework. Another of Samarkand's must-sees is the Shah-i Zinda, a collection of jewel-like tombs and small mausoleums.

When it was a khanate, the city of Khiva was infamous for its slave market. Today, its charming walled inner city, the Ichon Qala, has the status of a museum and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Strolling here, it is easy to imagine yourself in another time.

Bukhara may be the star of Uzbekistan's cities, with its medieval trading domes, massive Ark fortress, 12th-century Kalyon Minaret, and the lovely Lyabi Hauz complex centred around a tranquil pool.

ROMtravel's journey to Uzbekistan, in search of reminders of the Silk Road, will be rewarding and unforgettable!

ROMtravel to Uzbekistan

> April 21 to May 1, 2015

For more information, contact ROMtravel at 416.586.8034, email travel@rom.on.ca, or visit the website rom.on.ca/en/activities-programs/ walks-travel-bus-events.


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Title Annotation:ROMtravel
Publication:ROM Magazine
Geographic Code:9UZBE
Date:Mar 22, 2014
Words:486
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