With its magnificent blue-tiled domes and elegant minarets rising into the starry skies, Uzbekistan is a true jewel of Central Asia, an unspoilt gem nestled on the fabled Silk Route. A cradle of civilisation since time immemorial, these lands have been home to many peoples from all across the Great Steppe and beyond, making this a melting pot of cultures where arts and sciences developed hand in hand under the patronage of great enlightened rulers who sought out the best scholars, architects and artists to design and decorate the impressive cities Uzbekistan is famous for today. The stunning mosques, madrasahs and mausoleums of Samarkand and Bukhara, now lovingly restored and protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, dazzle us with their ancient, exotic beauty while labyrinths of medieval streets beckon us to fascinating encounters at bazaars where local artisans still sell their exquisite handicrafts.


Uzbekistan is becoming increasingly well-known for its distinctive artistic style – sumptuous silks, lavish carpets, and intricately-patterned ceramics are fast becoming collectors’ items. These traditional skills have been proudly handed down through the ages from mother to daughter, from father to son, and today modern artisans are sensitively combining 21st century techniques with time-honoured disciplines to create fabulous works of art; Uzbek ikat silks, for instance, are now prized by fashion Houses such as Oscar de la Renta and Armani for their rich colours, mesmerising patterns, natural dyes and everyday elegance.

Great scientists and philosophers once walked these streets, too. It was here in Uzbekistan that thinkers such as the brilliant physician Avicenna, sharp-eyed astronomer Ulugh Beg and astute mathematician Al-Biruni developed theories which would shape Western thought for centuries to come. Empires rose and fell but history is very much alive here; even today, we can walk around the impressive madrasahs and libraries built in classic Islamic style, monuments steeped in ancient knowledge that transport us back to a Golden Age.

Forged at a crossroads of civilisations where creativity flourished alongside trade, Uzbekistan’s rich cultural heritage is still thriving, ensuring the legacy of the Silk Road will be appreciated by many generations to come.