Traditional art, music and architecture were preserved as gold cloth after the Soviet creation of the Uzbekistan RSS. But in the following years the development of two great centers of progressive art was allowed: the collection of lost art of the thirties by Igor Savitsky, hidden in the Savitsky Museum of Nukus, and the stories of the life of the legendary Ilkhom theater of the ill-fated Mark Weil, in Tashkent.
Contemporary art, like the media, is under the strict control of the Government. Renegade artists that attract attention, such as Weil and photographer Umida Ahmedova, have problems. Ahmedova, whose work captures the lives and traditions of ordinary Uzbeks, attracted international attention in 2009, when she was arrested and convicted of “slandering the Uzbek nation” in a series that issued the BBC website.
Although Karimov forgave her, a glance at his harmless-looking photographs reveals the president’s artistic ideal: Uzbekistan had to be portrayed as a clean, organized, prosperous and modern country. This ideal had its effect on urban planning, you just have to see the reforms of Samarkand, where urban planners have turned the old town out of sight of tourists, or the demolition of Amir Timur Maydoni in Tashkent.
Cradle and center cultures of the region for more than two millennia, Uzbekistan proudly houses a fascinating arsenal of architecture and ancient cities soaked by the bloody and fascinating history of the Silk Road. In points of interest, Uzbekistan is the main and most impressive attraction of Central Asia.
Samarkand, Bukhara and Jiva marvel at its fabulous mosques, madrasas and mausoleums, while the most curious attractions, such as the dwindling Aral Sea, the fortresses of the desperately remote Karakalpakia, the prosperous capital, Tashkent, and the ecotourism options of the mountains Nuratau fill the most diverse tastes.
Despite being a hard-governed police state, Uzbekistan remains an extremely welcoming country where hospitality is an essential element of everyday life. The traveler will feel welcome wherever he goes.
Uzbekistan is not a very attractive option for traveling with children, who seem immune to the charm of medieval Islamic architecture. Tashkent has a couple of amusement parks, a water park, bowling alleys and shopping centers, valid if children need a context that is more familiar to them.
Yurt camps and camel rides help break the usual tourist routine.
Changing tables and high chairs barely exist, although diapers can be bought in cities. Strollers can drive well through the modern streets of Tashkent and Samarkand, but the old town of Bukhara and Jiva are more problematic.