Welcome to Uzbekistan - an oasis of peace, a land where ancient history and modern culture converge, a country located at the mid-point of the Great Silk Road! It's the oldest land in Central Asia, maintaining a twenty-five century long history, a country with a specific historical and cultural community different from that of other regions. Recently, tourist interest in Uzbekistan has markedly increased and accordingly, the range of travel facilities and the services of local tour operators are being expanded year by year in order to draw more travelers to explore this wonderful place.
On the territory of Uzbekistan there are many cities where hundreds of architectural monuments from different ages are located. Among them are Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrizabs, Termez and Kokand. These cities were centers of science and art. Great architects created palaces, mosques and mausoleums, world famous monuments of ancient architecture memorializing Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Many of those masterpieces have not survived to the present; however, from those which have been preserved, it is possible to restore the pages of the distant past. The Great Silk Road, one of the most significant achievements in history of World civilization, also passed through these cities. To enjoy your stay in these historical sites imbued with the atmosphere of ancient times, great efforts have been made to ensure that modern travelers feel comfortable and secure. Therefore, a great number of new hotels and guest houses have appeared, new restaurants and cafes have reached international standards, and modern means of transportation, from cars to tour buses, are available to transport more and more tourists.
The Uzbek national cuisine has a centuries-old history and reflects the diversity of the customs and traditions of the people. The development of the cuisine benefited much from the new crops which had come from the countries of the Great Silk Road. Moreover, the local rulers used to bring the best culinary experts from the conquered lands.
Along with the titbits the guests are treated to the rich mutton soup shurpa, which is spiced with plenty of fennel and parsley.
Yet the main dish of the Uzbek cuisine is pilav(plov). Pilav(plov) is an indispensable part of any festive meal: none of the weddings or any other important occasions, on which guests are ever received, can do without it.
As the legend says, the way of cooking pilav was "invented" during the conquest of Sogdiana by Alexander the Great. Supposedly, during a long mission trip his army ran out of food, except one sack of rice and a wild sheep that they had managed to kill. The cook made a dish from this stuff, spicing it with the seeds of some steppe herbs, and the amount of that "first pilav" turned out to be sufficient to feed the whole army. The respect of the Uzbeks for pilav can be traced in their language: the Uzbek for 'pilav' is 'osh', which literally means 'food'.
In the past pilav was a feast of the poor and everyday meal of the rich. According to historical sources, the emir of Bukhara used to eat pilav three times a day and arranged a sort of cooking contest for the best pilav among his dignitaries.
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