Last Updated on 28.11.2023 by Iliyan
Are you looking for the most popular tourist attractions in Uzbekistan? You are in the right place. In this post I will share the most popular tourist attractions in Uzbekistan to help you plan your itinerary. Uzbekistan is home to some of the most stunning tourist attractions in Central Asia, and it is absolutely worth visiting.
Uzbekistan is an amazing country in terms of architecture and history, there is no doubt in my mind. Plan your trip with this guide to the best Uzbekistan attractions…
- 1 Tourist Attractions in Uzbekistan
- 1.1 Chorsu Bazaar (Tashkent)
- 1.2 Hazrati Imam (Tashkent)
- 1.3 Hotel Uzbekistan (Tashkent)
- 1.4 Independence Square (Tashkent)
- 1.5 Tashkent Metro
- 1.6 Registan (Samarkand)
- 1.7 Bibi-Khanym Mosque (Samarkand)
- 1.8 Amir Timur Mausoleum Gur-e-Amir (Samarkand)
- 1.9 Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis Complex (Samarkand)
- 1.10 Ak-Saray Palace (Shakhrisabz)
- 1.11 Kok Gumbaz Mosque (Shakhrisabz)
- 1.12 Chor Minor (Bukhara)
- 1.13 Kalyan Minaret (Bukhara)
- 1.14 Kalyan Mosque (Bukhara)
- 1.15 Ark Citadel (Bukhara)
- 1.16 Bolo Khauz Mosque (Bukhara)
- 1.17 Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah (Bukhara)
- 1.18 Lyabi Khauz (Bukhara)
- 1.19 Nodir Devonbegi Madrasah (Bukhara)
- 1.20 Kalta Minor Minaret (Khiva)
- 1.21 Islam Khoja Minaret (Khiva)
- 1.22 Juma Mosque (Khiva)
- 1.23 Tash Khauli Palace (Khiva)
- 1.24 Kuhna Ark Fortress (Khiva)
- 1.25 Aral Sea Ship Graveyard (Muynak)
- 1.26 Devonaboy Mosque – BOSH Jome’ Masjidi (Andijon)
Tourist Attractions in Uzbekistan
Find out the most popular tourist attractions in Uzbekistan, and don’t forget to put all of them in your itinerary. The most beautiful tourist attractions in Uzbekistan can be found in Tashkent, Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Khiva and Bukhara.
Chorsu Bazaar (Tashkent)
Chorsu Bazaar is one of the most important markets in Central Asia and a fascinating place where you can see and feel the essence of the Silk Road. It is a very large market with open air stalls with hundreds of vendors. At its center is the covered, blue-domed building full of merchants selling various raw food products.
Hazrati Imam (Tashkent)
Hazrati Imam Complex is the largest place of worship in Tashkent, and it is a center of religious and cultural heritage. It is a complex of several architectural monuments of madrasas, mosques, mausoleum and museums. Among all the buildings, Moyie Mubarek Library Museum is probably the most important building in the Hazrati Imam complex, as it holds the oldest Quran in the world. Another impressive building is Hazrati Imam Mosque, built in 2007. The mosque is beautifully decorated with charming ornaments.
Hotel Uzbekistan (Tashkent)
Hotel Uzbekistan is a typical massive Soviet hotel. It’s an enormous concrete building with an interesting facade. It’s absolutely impossible to miss it while you’re wandering around the city. The hotel has a superb location near to Amir Timur Museum and the Monument of Amir Temur.
Independence Square (Tashkent)
Independence Square is the main square of the country. It used to be called Lenin Square during the Soviet era. It is a very nice and well-maintained area surrounded by gardens, parks, impressive public buildings, fountains, and several monuments. Here you can see the Arch of Independence and the Independence Monument. The silver arch with figures of storks marks the entrance to the Independence Square.
Tashkent’s metro system was opened in 1977, built in the former USSR. Like many Soviet metro systems, they have some of the most unique and impressive stations and each of them is a work of art. Almost every station of the Tashkent Metro is absolutely stunning, each with its own theme.
My favourite Tashkent metro station is Kosmonavtlar. It is dedicated to the cosmonauts of the Soviet Union with space themed pillars and mosaics. The interior is decorated with blue ceramic medallions with portraits of famous Soviet cosmonauts like Valentina Tereshkova, Mirzo Ulugh Beg, Yuri Gagarin, and Vladimir Dzhanibekov, while the ceiling resembles the Milky Way, which shows glass stars.
One of the most spectacular attractions in Samarkand is Registan. It is a picturesque square surrounded by three madrasas, all of them face the central square. The three madrasas are Islamic schools, each of them housed two stories of classrooms and dorms for students and professors. They were built between 15th and 17th century. From left to right, we have Ulugh Beg Madrasah, Tilya-Kori Madrasah, and Sher-Dor Madrasah.
Bibi-Khanym Mosque (Samarkand)
The impressive Bibi-Khanym Mosque is one of the best places to visit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It is located directly in front of the Siyob Bazaar. In the 15th century, it was one of the biggest and most magnificent mosques in the world. According to the manuscripts, it was built under the ruling of Timur the Great in 1399-1405.
Amir Timur Mausoleum Gur-e-Amir (Samarkand)
The astonishing mausoleum of Amir Timur is one of the most stunning places in Samarkand. It is known as Gur-e-Amir, in Persian means “Tomb of the King”. It’s the where Amir Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire, and some of his family are buried.
The building is a real masterpiece of Central Asian Architecture. It is impressive both outside and inside. The gold and blue ceilings and walls are very mesmerizing. It is definitely a must see when visiting Samarkand. The best time to visit Gur-e-Amir is in the early morning or late afternoon.
Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis Complex (Samarkand)
Shah-i-Zinda is one of the most popular places to visit in Samarkand. It is a sacred necropolis, includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings. The name Shah-i-Zinda means “Tomb of the Living King”, which refers to a myth that Qutham ibn Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, is buried here. The legend says that Qutham ibn Abbas brought Islam to this region in the 7th century.
Most of the mausoleums date back to the 14th to 15th century, although some of the buildings are from 11th century. The ritual buildings are grouped along a magnificent narrow medieval street. Many royals and other noble people are buried there. The blue tilework on the exteriors of some of the tombs are really stunning with some of the interior tilework and mosaics jawdropping. Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis has been controversially repaired and restored, so a lot of the mosaic tilework you see there today is not original.
Ak-Saray Palace (Shakhrisabz)
Ak-Saray Palace is a ruined palace and one of the most important places in Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan. Actually, not much remains of the palace, but the enormous entry is still there. Even this being only half the size of its original size, you still can enjoy its former grandeur. The massive portal was covered with incredible gold-gilded tiles and azure colors, standing over 38 m high.
Kok Gumbaz Mosque (Shakhrisabz)
The Kok Gumbaz Mosque was constructed in 1435 by Timur’s grandson, Ulugh Beg, in honor of his father. It is known as the Friday Mosque of Shakhrisabz. It is exquisitely decorated with various ornaments, figures and the traditional blue-green tiles. It is one of the biggest attractions in Shakhrisabz that you should not miss.
Chor Minor (Bukhara)
Chor Minor (also known as Madrasah of Khalif Niyaz-kul) was part of a complex with a now destroyed madrasah. The structure was built in 1807, and it is located a little bit outside of the main tourist area of town. The name “Chor Minor” means four towers, but surprisingly the towers are not minarets. Three of them were used for storage and the fourth has an internal staircase leading to the roof. Each of those four blue-domed towers have different motifs and design. The legend says that elements of decoration represent four different religions practiced in Central Asia – Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam.
Kalyan Minaret (Bukhara)
Admire the Kalyan Minaret is one of the best things to do in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It is part of the Po-i-Kalyan mosque complex, together with Kalyan Mosque, Mir-i-Arab Madrasah, and Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah. The Kalyan Minaret stands almost 46 meters above the ground. It was built in 1127, when Bukhara was part of the Karakhanid state. It is also known as the Tower of Death, because a long time ago criminals were executed by throwing them off the tower.
Kalyan Mosque (Bukhara)
The Kalyan Mosque is a must see when in Bukhara. It is also known as Kalan or Kalon. The Kalyan Mosque was completed in 1515 in the Khanate of Bukhara, as a part of the historical Po-i-Kalyan Complex which includes the Mir-i-Arab madrasah directly opposite and the famous Kalyan Minaret. The architectural style of the mosque was inspired by Bibi Khanum Mosque in Samarkand. The Kalyan Mosque has a large central courtyard and is impressive with its 208 columns and 288 interior domes. Currently, the madrasah is still a functioning Islamic college.
Ark Citadel (Bukhara)
The Ark Citadel is a massive fortress, built around the 5th century AD. Over the years the Ark has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times. By the beginning of the 20th century, the it was inhabited by nearly 3,000 people, making it a city within a city. It was used as a fortress until it fell to Russia in 1920.
Nowadays, the Ark is a tourist attraction and houses several museums, a mosque and the throne room.
Bolo Khauz Mosque (Bukhara)
Bolo Khauz Mosque was built in the 17th century, right across the main entrance of the Ark of Bukhara. This mosque looks stunning from the outside with its intricately carved wooden pillars and a small pool of water (khauz) directly in front. The interior is more simply but strikingly decorated, and will have you staring at them for a while. Bolo Khauz Mosque is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it must be included in your itinerary in Bukhara.
Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah (Bukhara)
The Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah is located directly opposite the Ulugbek Madrasah. It was built in 17th century, and it is one of the most gorgeous and colorful places to visit in Bukhara. The entrance to the Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah is glamorous, with intricately carved reliefs, ornate tiles, brick mosaic, and painted archway.
Lyabi Khauz (Bukhara)
Relaxing at the Lyabi Khauz is one of the best things to do in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Literally Lyabi Khauz is translated as “by the pond” in Persian, which refers to the big pond in the middle of the square. In Persian architecture, a howz is a centrally positioned symmetrical axis pool. Until about one century ago the reservoir was a source of water for the population for bathing and drinking, and a popular gathering spot for locals. However, the Lyabi-Hauz pond is one of the few that still remain today. The others were removed because they were prone to spreading diseases.
Nodir Devonbegi Madrasah (Bukhara)
Nodir Devonbegi Madrasah is part of the Lyabi Khauz architectural ensemble. Originally this building was built as a caravanserai, but later it was converted to a madrasah. The exterior is wonderful with the intricate blue tiles, covered with a mix of different patterns – floral, plants, and animals. It is very unusual for an Islamic building the depiction of a sun with human face above the gate, with two peacocks on the side.
Kalta Minor Minaret (Khiva)
It is also known as the “unfinished minaret”. It was commissioned by the ruler of Khiva in 1851, and was supposed to reach a height of 70 meters. Unfortunately he died in 1855, before the minaret was finished. According to legend, he wanted to build a minaret so high he could see all the way to Bukhara.
Nowadays, this gorgeous turquoise tiled minaret stands at a height of 26 meters. Kalta Minor Minaret is one of the most beautiful minarets within the old city of Khiva, and looks marvellous in during the day and night..
Islam Khoja Minaret (Khiva)
At 57 meters tall, Islam Khoja Minaret (also spelled Khodja) is the tallest minaret in entire Uzbekistan. It can be seen from almost every spot of Khiva Itchan Kala. This stunning minaret dates back to the beginning of the XX century, during the Khiva Khanate. It was used as a tower to call for prayers but due to its impressive height, it also guided many travellers into the city.
Juma Mosque (Khiva)
The Juma Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Khiva and is also known as the “Friday Mosque”. It stands in the middle of Itchan Kala, on the road connecting the west gate and the east gate. The mosque dates back to the 10th century, but it was rebuilt in 1788. It is a large one-story brick building with a flat wooden roof, supported by 218 beautifully carved wooden pillars. It looks like a museum of Khiva wood carving styles of different style and times.
Tash Khauli Palace (Khiva)
Exploring the amazing Tash Khauli Palace is one of the best things to do in Khiva. It is also called Tosh Havli, which means “Stone House”, and it is home to some of Khiva’s best decorated rooms and courtyards, including ceramic tiles, painted ceilings, carved stone and wood. Built in the 1830s by Allakuli Khan, the Tash Khauli Palace is an example of Khorezm architectural grandeur of those times. There are over 150 rooms and 9 courtyards inside this palace. The palace is a real maze with lots of small entrances, connected with corridors.
Kuhna Ark Fortress (Khiva)
The Kuhna Ark Fortress is said to be the oldest structure in Khiva, originally 12th century, then expanded 17th century. It was the residence of Khiva’s ruler. Inside the Kuhna Ark Fortress is elaborately decorated and it is divided into different complexes. It has a summer mosque, throne room, a harem, stables, a mint, a prison, and a large reception courtyard. The summer mosque is truly remarkable, decorated with white and blue glazed tiles.
Aral Sea Ship Graveyard (Muynak)
Muynak Aral Ship Graveyard is located next to the Regional History and Aral Sea Museum. Once the town of Muynak was a bustling fishing port, lying on the shores of the abundant Aral Sea. At the time, the Aral Sea was the 4th largest inland salt sea in the world. However, in the 1960s, the Soviet government ordered that the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers be diverted to irrigate land with the cotton plantations. This caused the Aral Sea to evaporate and left the remaining water with extremely high levels of salinity, which made it toxic, and later dried up into a dusty desert.
Devonaboy Mosque – BOSH Jome’ Masjidi (Andijon)
BOSH Jome’ Masjidi (known as Devonaboy Mosque) is the largest mosque in Andijon, opened in 2021. It was built in an antique style with towers on both sides with a height of 54 meters. The mosque is a real jewel that you must visit.
I hope you enjoyed this list of 26 tourist attractions in Uzbekistan and it will help you with your travel plans there. If you have any questions about the organization and the itinerary, you can leave a comment below.