Take a group tour through the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan! Explore this culturally rich country on a round trip, hike along the famous Silk Road, or visit the sights in the big cities such as the capital Tashkent with the Dzhuma mosque, the statue of the conqueror Emir Timur, the Saineddin Baba mausoleum; Namangan; Samarqand with the Bibi Khanum mosque, Ulugbeks observatory and memorial; the city of Andijon; Bukhara with the Emir Palace, the Kaljan Minaret and the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, or another beautiful city called Nukus. Get to know the interesting country of Uzbekistan on a study trip!
Historic center of Shahrisabz
Shakhrisabz is a small Uzbek city south of Samarkand. The traditional city lies at an altitude of 622 meters and has about 100,300 inhabitants. Shahrisabz, formerly known as Kesh or Kish, was once a major city in Central Asia and an important urban center of Sogdiana, a province of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. Today the area is best known as the birthplace of the Turkish-Mongolian conqueror Timur from the 14th century.
Shahrisabz is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and was founded more than 2,700 years ago. Thanks to its age and the remaining impressive monuments from the Timurid dynasty, the old town was able to be included in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage. The historical buildings of Shahrisabz include the Gumbaz Mosque, the Hazrat-i-Imam building ensemble and the Ak-Saray Palace.
The Ak Saray Palace
The summer palace, the “White Palace”, was planned as the grandiose building of Timur. It was built in 1380 by craftsmen who were deported by Timur from the recently conquered Khwarezm. Unfortunately, only parts of the gigantic 65 meter high gate towers with white, blue and gold mosaics survive.
The Kok Gumbaz place of worship
This mosque was built by Ulugh Beg in honor of his father Shah Rukh in 1437. Directly behind the prayer building is the so-called “House of Meditation”, a mausoleum that was built in 1438 but was apparently never used for burials.
The Hazrat-i-Imam Complex
To the east of it is another mausoleum called Dorus-Saodat, which houses the tomb of Jehangir, the eldest and most beloved son of the conqueror. The adjacent mosque is said to house the tomb of a revered Imam Amir Kulal from the 8th century.
Behind the Hazrat-i Imam ensemble is a bunker with a door that led to an underground chamber that archaeologists discovered in 1943. The room is almost entirely filled with a single stone casket with inscriptions on it indicating that it was intended for Timur. However, the conqueror found his final resting place in Samarkand, not Shahrisabz, and his grave in Shahrisabz mysteriously contained two unidentified bodies.
Also very interesting when visiting Shakhrisabz are the medieval baths and an 18th century bazaar.
Western Tian Shan Mountains
UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO has declared a mountain range to be a World Heritage Site in three countries. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are affected – and all of these countries in Asia are united by the Western Tian Shan Mountains. It is the habitat of numerous endangered animals, and it runs with its ridges and chains in an east-west direction. Although the rivers of Central Asia are fed by numerous glaciers, it is a peculiarity of nature that none of these bodies of water reach an ocean.
Three bird areas worth protecting
Deep gorges, icy glaciers and peaks ravaged by storms characterize the landscape in the west of the Tian-Shan World Heritage Site. They alternate with wide steppes and large wetlands. In 2016 this region was included in the list of world natural heritage. The diverse manifestations of flora and fauna played an important role in this. Ornithologists have campaigned for three areas to be placed under nature protection because there are rare species of birds: Aksu-Dzhabagl and the regions around the Kenshektau and Chatkal Mountains.
The largest walnut forests in the world
According to scientists, the western Tian Shan Mountains are home to numerous crops. This includes some types of nuts and fruits. The walnut forests in this region are the largest in the world. However, some wild apple varieties such as Siverse and Nedzvetsky and some wild apricot trees are also threatened. The entire area received the blessing of UNESCO also because it represents a basis for research by scientists.
The “ruler of spirits”
The highest peaks of the so-called “Himmelsgebirge” are Pik Pobeda at 7,439 meters and Chang Grengri at 6,995 meters. Both peaks are in the central Tien Shan in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. The Chan Tengri is also described as the “ruler of spirits” and was first climbed in 1931. Illegal deforestation has meanwhile become a threat to the lower-lying fruit and nut forests. In addition, numerous animals have been largely exterminated, especially through poaching. Climate change also contributed to the change in the landscape of the western Tian Shan Mountains.