Recently dubbed one of the “Worlds Greatest Places” by Time Magazine and listed in “Best Stops on the Silk Road,” Uzbekistan is known for its aromatic spices, handmade carpets, rainbow-like silks, and bustling teahouses and bazaars. Historic architecture abounds, from eye-catching turquoise domes to giant minarets and ancient mosques. But beyond the country’s more than 200 Unesco World Heritage Sites, Uzbekistan is also gaining attention for its potential to attract adventure travelers.
By visiting emerging destinations, travelers are able to go truly off the beaten track and spread their tourism dollars to rural populations that have historically relied on other industries for economic growth. While cities along the Silk Road such as Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand have a well-developed infrastructure for tourism, more recently, community-based tourism has begun to gain traction in Uzbekistan. Community-based tourism offers travelers a chance to learn about ancient traditions, participate in cultural activities, enjoy nature experiences, stay in unique accommodations such as yurts and homestays, and engage with members of the community to exchange stories and ideas.
One local tour operator, Oasis International Travel, features a wide range of trips developed to support communities throughout Uzbekistan, including a journey to the Aral Sea. Located in the western part of Uzbekistan in the autonomous republic of Karakalpakistan, the Aral Sea began shrinking in the 1960s when the Soviet government diverted the Amudarya and Syrdarya Rivers for irrigation. Once the fourth largest lake in the world, it has been drying up ever since. Travelers have the opportunity to capture photographs of the ever-changing Aral Sea, visit abandoned settlements, learn about recent and ancient history of the region, spend 1-2 nights in a yurt camp, and explore the landscape – from its canyons to swimming areas.
Oasis International Travel believes sustainable tourism relies on travelers who will bear witness to the challenges faced globally due to climate change and human interference with nature. Those who journey beyond a “Silk Road” itinerary will be pleasantly surprised by the lasting impressions, unforgettable experiences, connections made with local people, and ancient traditions of Uzbekistan!
To learn more about planning an adventure to Uzbekistan, visit oasisinternational.travel.
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