Today Uzbekistan with its numerous ancient monuments, rich nature, and the present-day rapid progress attracts the whole world's attention. For centuries the country was at the intersection of the Great Silk Road routes along which merchants, geographers, missionaries, and later tourists traveled. It is striking how the history, traditions and cultures of the nationalities populating the present-day Uzbekistan have been entangled with the history of Great Silk Road.
Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Shakhrizabs, where cultural and spiritual values had been long since concentrated, outstanding scientific centers and schools were established, architecture, craftsmanship, and applied art were flourishing, played the role of main urban centres. Creative work and various scientific achievements of the local scientists, thinkers, and poets have proved to be a valuable contribution to the development of the world civilization. Abu Ali ibn Sino, al-Khorezmiy, Mirzo Ulugbek, Bakhouddin Nakshband, al-Bukhoriy, at-Termeziy, Abu Raikhon Beruniy, Alisher Navoiy - this is but a short list of names of prominent figures of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan, where monuments of ancient cultures of different ages are concentrated, is rightly called a treasury of history. Ichan-Kala complex in Khiva, historical centers of Bukhara, Shakhrizabs and Samarkand are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Many unique monuments and architectural constructions in these towns have remained in a good state up to the present day and are of a great significance to the mankind.
The monuments of Samarkand are majestic and wonderful. In this town one can feel the breath of history itself. It can be traced in the ancient ruins as well as in the medrassahs, mausoleums, and minarets, which have been decorating the city until now. In 1370 Amir Timur (Tamerlan) designated Samarkand as the capital of his great state that spread from Mongolia and Siberia to Syria and India. From his campaigns he brought many skillful architects and craftsmen whose works of art have outlasted the ages. The legendary Samarkand square of Registan has up to now been considered to be one of the main architectural sights of Central Asia.
Since old times Bukhara was the center of a densely populated oasis. Archeologists noted that the city was constantly growing, both in width and in height. Ruins of dwellings, public buildings, defense structures dating back to different periods of the city's history were found in the earth stratum at the depth of 20 meters. There are more than 140 monuments of ancient architecture in Bukhara altogether. Minaret Kalyan, the striking symbol of the city, towers over it. Everyone who has seen "Great Minaret" built in 1127 will long keep in memory the impression of its greatness and original beauty.
Having once visited Bukhara, you will long stay under impression both of Ark fortress and many other monuments of antiquity, which surround you almost everywhere. Craftsmen-chasers will reproduce ancient patterns on copper and silver right before your eyes, jewellers will make replicas of unique adornments, which the beauties used to wear thousands of years ago. Involuntarily you ask yourself: how many centuries has this town numbered? How many pieces of the past material cultures are buried in it?