Uzbekistan is one of the few countries that do not have access to the sea or ocean, but still, there is a huge number of places for water tourism – this is the deep-water Charvak reservoir in the foothills of the western Tien Shan, countless raging rivers and huge, sea-like lakes such as Tashkent sea, also know as Tashmore.
While resting here, you can ride a scooter with a breeze or explore the surroundings on a catamaran, for fans of extreme recreation, many tour operators offer rafting tours along the Chatkal, Pskem, Ugam, Syr Darya rivers, and many other places.
The Tien Shan, Pamir, and Gissar Alay mountains give tributaries to all the rivers of Uzbekistan. Glaciers and snowfields are concentrated here, flowing down from the highest mountain peaks, forming more than 600 rivers. First, numerous channels run among the rocks and cliffs. Falling downhill from the mountains, the current becomes very fast and stormy. In this way, numerous waterfalls are formed, which over time begin to form waterways.
The volume and area of water in streams depend on the nature of their filling. Typically, rivers are replenished by rain or snow and glaciers. The largest rivers of Uzbekistan are the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya. They receive 3⁄4 of the total melt runoff from the mountain peaks.
The Amu Darya is one of the largest rivers in all of Central Asia. Its length is 2600 km. The river has two main tributaries – Pyanj and Vakhsh, which originate in the Gissar-Alay mountains, the Pamirs and the Hindu Kush. The flow of the river is clearly visible on the map. Flowing from the south of Surkhandarya, the river falls on the lands of Turkmenistan. Then the Amu Darya rises to the territory of Uzbekistan, moves to the northwest, and flows through the Bukhara and Khorezm regions. Further, the river goes to the territory of Karakalpakstan. Once the river flowed into the Aral Sea and was its main tributary.
The Syrdarya is one of the longest rivers in all of Central Asia. It forms its channel from the confluence of two mountain rivers – Naryn and Karadarya – in the Fergana Valley, which merge into one river on the territory of the Namangan and Andijan regions.
The length of the Syr Darya is 2790 km. Feeding on the rivers of the Fergana Valley, the Syrdarya leaves for Tajikistan, then returns to the territory of Uzbekistan and flows through the Tashkent and Syrdarya regions. In the Tashkent region, the Syrdarya flows into the Akhangaran and Chirchiq rivers. Further, the river goes to the south of Kazakhstan and flows to the southwest. Having passed the Turan lowland, it flows into the Aral Sea.
Shakhrukhiya is a settlement in the Tashkent region. It is located 88 kilometers southwest of Tashkent on the right bank of the Syrdarya river (it serves as the border of the Syrdarya region), not far from the confluence of the Akhangaran.
Shakhrukhiya is an ancient city that had different names in different eras. It was one of the oldest cities in the Shash region and an important point on the Great Silk Road. There was a ferry across the Yaks (Syrdarya), and Shakhrukhia enjoyed its location, remaining an influential city in the region for centuries.
However, the city’s happy days did not last long. In the 15th century, Shakhrukhia became a bone of contention between the rulers of Samarkand and Fergana, and then it was annexed to Moghulistan. Later it was part of the possessions of various Uzbek khans, including those from the Shabanid dynasty.
In the 18th century, the decaying Shah Rukhia was finally destroyed by the feuds of local rulers.
The settlement of Shakhrukhia was discovered and described in 1876 by Zatsepin. At the end of the 19th century, members of the Turkestan circle of archeology amateurs study it.
Excavations of the site were carried out by the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan in the post-war years when the main objects of Shakhrukhia were identified and the finds were dated.
The study of the settlement is complicated by the fact that part of the ancient city washed away the Syr Darya.
Shakhrukhiya is spread over 400 hectares and has a shahristan with a citadel and a rabad suburb. The settlement in the west approaches the Syrdarya, in the north, it is limited by the Shakriya-say stream.
Three walls from the time of Tameralan were discovered that surrounded the city: north-east (600 meters long), north-west (450 meters), south-west (800 meters). In addition to fortifications, there are craft workshops of glassblowers and potters, market squares, the remains of the facades of residential buildings, and elements of landscaping, which belong to the period of the Timurids and Uzbek khans.
Among the ruins of the settlement, the memorial complex “Shamir-kara ovla”, which is located in the northern part of the rabad, stands out. Built at the initiative of the Shabanid ruler Abdullah Khan II in the 16th century, it includes a mosque and the tomb of Ishan Shahruhiyya Asadullah.
Chirchiq is the main river in Tashkent and Tashkent region. Chirchiq’s length is 225 km. The main tributary of the Chirchiq is the Chatkal River. At the confluence of Chatkal with two more rivers – Koksu and Pskem – the Charvak reservoir was built, one of the most beautiful places in Uzbekistan. Two more reservoirs have been built on the Chirchiq River – Gazalkent and Khodjikent reservoirs.
Akhangaran is another river flowing through the Tashkent region. The length of Akhangaran is 233 km. The river is formed at the confluence of mountain springs in the Chatkal and Kuramin mountains. Two reservoirs have been built in Akhangaran – Angren and Tuyabuguz.
Every year the Ugam-Chatkal National Park is visited by a huge number of vacationers and tourists from all over the world. The foothill areas of Chimgan, Beldersay, Khodjikent, and Parkent are very popular at any time of the year.
There are many amazing natural and archaeological monuments in the park such as rock paintings – petroglyphs of the Kumbel pass, a cave settlement of primitive people – Obi-Rakhmat grotto, Pulatkhan plateau, Urungach mountain lakes, Gulkam canyon, Koksu river, Aksarsay waterfall, and much more.
The Obi-Rakhmat grotto is located 100 km east-north-east of Tashkent. The grotto is a large circular niche facing south.
Scientists from the following countries were involved in the study and analysis of the materials found during the excavations of the Obi-Rakhmat grotto and further scientific conclusions: Uzbekistan, Russia, USA, Austria, Tajikistan, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Japan.
The results of scientific research were discussed at a special international scientific conference on the problems of the Stone Age in Central Asia, held from August 9 to 15, 2004 at the site of the Obi-Rakhmat grotto.
After the Obi-Rakhmat cave, the road leads to the Paltau waterfall where the site of the ancient people of the Paleolithic era was discovered. At this place, the remains of an ancient man, his bones and even teeth were found.
Approaching the waterfall, you will hear the noise and feel its freshness from afar. The very stay near the waterfall has a healing effect: the mist generated during a fall from a height and under the influence of sunlight has negatively charged ions and is saturated with phytoncides of plants, which have a beneficial effect on the respiratory system in the body.
You do not need a special permit to visit these places. In summer, they fascinate with their green cover, juniper thickets, and in winter with snow-capped peaks, immersing in the atmosphere of a winter fairy tale.
Mountain tourism in Uzbekistan is a small but rapidly developing industry.
This includes hiking in beautiful mountain landscapes, mountaineering, winter skiing in one of the four resorts, visits to ancient mountain fortresses from the Achaemenid times (6-4 centuries BC) and Alexander the Great (4th century BC), and also rock paintings, which are many thousands of years old.
Tashkent region also has breathtaking panoramic views of mountain heights from 3000 to 4000 meters, seclusion in remote traditional mountain villages with hospitable people. This is a unique flora, endemic and rare endangered animals, beautiful waterfalls, mountain lakes, and turbulent mountain rivers.
Located among the mountain ranges of the Chatkal nature reserve, the Pulatkhan plateau is a unique natural site steeped in legends.
On all sides, the edges of the plateau turn into a gorge with ledges more than 1 kilometer high. The plateau can only be reached by a narrow path that can be traversed by one person. This place is called “Pulatkhan Darvoza” (Pulatkhan gate).
An incredibly beautiful panoramic view opens from the plateau to the surrounding mountains and rivers. On the plateau itself, you can see ibex mountain goats, Minzbier’s marmots, which are endemic, as well as soaring eagles and vultures.
A lot of different medicinal herbs grow on the plateau. The route passes through various mountain landscapes, where you can see mountain rivers and waterfalls with clear water, snow-covered mountain peaks. Hiking the Pulatkhan Plateau is an interesting adventure with campfire dinners and overnight stays in tents in the wild.
Numerous resorts, hotels, sanatoriums, children’s camps, as well as various recreation areas are located in the most beautiful parts of the Ugam-Chatkal national reserve park, namely along the perimeter of the Charvak reservoir, in the foothills of the Small and Big Chimgan, as well as in the Beldersay tract.
The Big Chimgan is the highest point of the region with a height of 3309 meters, it is difficult to climb, but this does not stop lovers of mountain recreation and mountaineering. Small Chimgan is located next to Big Chimgan and is the most accessible route in mountain climbing, its height is 2097 meters.
Resorts of Bostanlyk region, ski resorts “Chimgan”, “Amirsoy”, “Beldersay”, sanatoriums and health resorts “Khumsan”, “Tibet”, “Chartak” and many other tourist facilities are ready to accept everyone, to restore and maintain health in the vastness of the healing nature of the Ugam-Chatkal National Park.
The peak of ski tourism is in November-March. A relatively mild climate, almost complete absence of wind, a large selection of cross-country skiing and downhill skiing trails will create excellent conditions for skiing.
One of the most beloved and lively recreation places among Uzbeks is the Charvak reservoir. Charvak is the place where an azure-blue lake, mountains covered with greenery, sharp rocks, and the sky that seem very close can be seen at the same time.
Everyone comes to rest on Charvak, there are rest houses, sanatoriums, hotels, resorts, camps, stops for camping.
You can fly a paraglider in Uzbekistan almost at any time of the year, the only limitation is the rain since the wing of the paraglider is made of fabric.
The most popular time of the year is summer, and the best place to fly is the country’s mountain ranges.
The flight can be performed either with a professional instructor or independently.
There is a number of sanatoriums in the Tashkent region that offer good service and care.
The Khumson Buloq Sanatorium is a health center located in Khumson in a magnificent mountainous area surrounded by the high mountain ranges of the Western Tien Shan.
It has a shared lounge, a garden, spa and fitness center, and free WiFi throughout the property.
The resort also offers a restaurant, a water park, and a seasonal outdoor pool together with an indoor pool, fitness center, and room service.
But the uniqueness of the place is not only in the mountain landscape against the background of the Charvak reservoir, here the health-improving effect is achieved due to the mild climate, mineral water, and the purest mountain air.
The Tibet Mounts Flora sanatorium is the pearl of Uzbekistan. Surrounded by an unusual natural landscape, the resort becomes truly unique. This place is ideal for those who love mountains.
The Tibet health resort complex was opened in June 2019 and is located near the Beldersay gorge on a picturesque slope surrounded by juniper trees.
The price includes diagnostic services and medical consultations, as well as physiotherapy, mineral baths, massage, SPA, Turkish, Finnish, and Russian sauna, and mud therapy.
The Zangiota Zam-Zam sanatorium is located in the Zangiota district of the Tashkent region, not far from the historical architectural complex Zangi-Ota.
On the territory of the institution, the total area of which is more than 10 hectares, stands of various conifers, oaks, chestnuts, lindens, and fruit trees grow.
The unique feature of the resort is its thermal spring, mineral water originating from a depth of 1960 m, with a temperature of 55-60C. According to the conclusion of hydrogeologists, the composition of mineral water has been formed over many years, being exposed to the gravitational, physicochemical, and microbiological effects of the earth’s interior, thereby being saturated with a rich composition of minerals, gases, and trace elements that determine its uniqueness.
The Botanica Sanatorium is located in the Kibray district of the Tashkent region, 30 km from Tashkent, in the foothills of the Tien Shan, at an altitude of 570 m above sea level.
The Botanica Sanatorium is a climatic and balneological resort. Thermal waters are used here for drinking, baths, therapeutic showers, intestinal and stomach lavage, which helps to improve cardiovascular activity, reduce high blood pressure, and restore the nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. In addition to mineral waters, therapeutic mud from Lake Balikly, Jizzakh region, is used in the form of applications and galvanic mud.
The continental climate, the abundance of the sun, curative mud, mineral waters and the purest air create favorable conditions for health improvement. The landscaped territory of the sanatorium is buried in greenery, and the shady alleys contribute to a calm and unhurried rest.
The Aktash Sanatorium is a mountain resort. The area is surrounded by mountain slopes with deciduous forests. Mountain rivers Aktash and Ayubsay flow along with it. The healing factor is the clean mountain air and natural hydro ionization of mountain rivers. These are all useful in treating patients with respiratory problems. Mountain river Aktash, mountain air, and remoteness of the territory from industrial enterprises create a unique microclimate for health improvement. The complex treatment procedures include UHF, electrophoresis, ultrasound, ECG, physiotherapy, massage, laser treatment, magnetotherapy, physiotherapy, and so on.
The Chatkal sanatorium is located in the city of Gazalkent, Tashkent region, 55 km from Tashkent, on the banks of the Chirchik River, at an altitude of 610 m above sea level.
The sanatorium is surrounded by picturesque nature, as the ridges of the Western Tien Shan stretch nearby, giving coolness in hot summers and contributing to a rather warm winter.
The Chatkal sanatorium was founded in 1975 and is known to this day as a health resort with a territory of 12.5 hectares and a rich green area. The space of the sanatorium is decorated with a zoological garden with exotic species of birds and a pool with ornamental fish.
The rehabilitation complex includes physiotherapy, laser therapy, inhalations, artificial baths (coniferous, salt), a salt cave, paraffin-ozokerite, massage, exercise therapy, therapeutic walking, as well as a balanced diet.
A unique Uzbek village is comfortably located 50 km from the capital in the picturesque mountainous area of Uzbekistan.
Kumushkan is a local health resort and a popular holiday destination for many tourists. Clean mountain air, crystal lakes, and rivers are not all that the region can boast of.
There is everything for a good rest – hotel complexes, guest houses, restaurants of national cuisine, as well as workshops of the best representatives of the region’s folk artwork.
Uzbekistan is famous not only for its ancient architectural monuments but also for its magnificent mountain landscapes. Nature itself has made sure that here you can have a good rest and do your favorite winter and summer sports. Stunning mountain resorts are scattered here like pearls. Among the very first and most popular ones for the skiers is the Beldersay ski resort.
The river of the same name and the Beldersay ski complex is located in the Bustonlyk district of the Tashkent region, 80 kilometers from Tashkent and 5 kilometers from the Chimgan tourist base.
While Chimgan is usually recommended for families and beginners, Beldersay is for more experienced athletes. The resort has a first-class hotel and ski slopes. There are 2 cable cars here.
The snow at the Beldersay ski resort differs from that in Europe. The continental climate, the Himalayas on the one hand, and Siberia on the other provide extreme temperatures and heavy snowfalls. The snow here is excellent, dry and cold, great for skiing and, according to experts, is considered one of the best in the world.
For skiers, the season is open from December to March inclusive. Interesting tours are organized here in summer. For example, climbing to the top of the Beldersay gorge, you can see ancient petroglyphs depicting scenes of hunting wild animals.
At the end of 2019, the dream of alpine skiing and snowboarding fans came true: the first all-season mountain resort of international level in Uzbekistan was finally opened.
The Amirsoy resort is located at an altitude of 2,494 m above sea level on the northern slopes of the majestic Tien Shan Maigashkan mountains.
Amirsoy is particularly attractive for its proximity to Tashkent and the Islam Karimov International Airport. The 65-kilometer drive takes no more than 2 hours, and an excellent high-altitude trail leads to quality parking at the resort.
The resort complex with an area of 900 hectares is planned to be completed only by 2022, but many facilities are already in operation:
- 8 ski slopes of varying difficulty, with a total length of 10 km.
- 5 lifts (including one 8-seater gondola)
- Three travelers
- Sledding, snowmobiling and tubing (for children and adults)
More and more tourists come to Uzbekistan to admire thoroughbred Uzbek horses of famous breeds, see national equestrian competitions and experience the incomparable joy of riding thoroughbred horses.
Equestrian sport, or as the professionals call it, horseback riding, is gaining popularity day after day. Previously, only real aristocrats could afford to engage in this sport, but over time, the possibilities of people have increased and now almost everyone can afford to learn to ride a horse.
Not far from the city of Tashkent, in a beautiful valley, at an altitude of 1600 meters, at the foot of the Big and Small Chimgan, there is the Chimgan Oromgohi resort complex, designed for horse riding enthusiasts. Here you can go for a walk through the picturesque surroundings of the resort. Experienced instructors will teach beginners to ride horses, and experienced riders can improve their skills.
From the resort complex, you can also take a horse ride around the Beldersay ridge along the Chatkal and Koksu rivers. One of the most popular routes for experienced riders is the route along the northern slopes of the Ugam ridge, along the banks of the turbulent mountain river Pskem.
Every day in Uzbekistan there is a growing interest in one of the most aristocratic sports – golf. In 2015, the Golf Federation of Uzbekistan was established, whose athletes successfully participate in international competitions.
There are mini-golf clubs in Tashkent, and visiting them will be a good solution for a fun family and youth pastime.
The large golf club – Tashkent Lakeside is worth a separate mention. This golf club is located in the suburban resort area of Rohat and includes not only golf courses but also a large area with training areas, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a sauna, a guest cottage, and a restaurant with European and Uzbek cuisine.