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Discovery Uzbekistan Travel Guide #14/2010

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Adventure tourism in Uzbekistan

World-renowned monuments of Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and the other ancient cities of Uzbekistan have annually attracted to Uzbekistan hundreds of tourists from all over the world. However, until present the richest natural potential of Uzbekistan has been actually little used yet.

At the territory of Uzbekistan there are one of the greatest desert of Asia i.e., Kizilkum (The Red Sand), mysterious plateau Ustyurt, mountains of Pamirs-Alay and Tien Shan reaching heights of more than 4500 meters. In the Republic there are 12 reserves and national natural parks.

Natural possibilities of Uzbekistan in combination with favorable climate make excellent possibilities for many kinds of adventurous and ecological tourism as well as for the active rest: tracking, cycling and equestrian tourism, skiing and snow boarding, heliskiing, rafting, camel- safari and off road tours. The most famous place for the active rest is Chimgan mountains. Being only 80 km away from the Uzbekistan capital it geographically belongs to the SouthWestern Tien Shan. Dominant height the Big Chimgan (3309 m) “takes off” its snow cap only at the end of summer, and on its snowflakes skiers can ski up to the end of June!

In winter it is an Alpine skiing resort here. Certainly, as for the quantity and quality of the mountain ski routes Chimgan and the neighboring Alpine skiing resort “Beldersay” are inferior to the European ones, but experts long before have appreciated local, the most slippery snow in the world, as well as fine possibilities for the freeriding, and especially for the heliskiing. Many fans of this extreme kind of the mountain skiing rest consider this place as one of the best all over the world and every year come here to rise by helicopter to the inaccessible heights and competing in speed with wind descend along virgin soft snow. There are not so many places in the world where you can make descending with an amplitude up to 2 km and length up to 10 km, and for a day to ski “16 vertical kilometers” (this is almost 2 heights of Everest).

In summer in Chimgan there is an expanse for the Alpinists and tracking fans. Picturesque canyons, water falls, mysterious plateau Polatkhan, ravine of the river Karaarcha, boundless mountain ranges, rock paintings, all these remain in the tourists' memory for long.
There are also horse routes all over the same mountains.

Here along the rivers Chatkal, Pskem, and Ugam conquerors of the “white water” are rafting. If Chatkal and Pskem are the rivers for the professionals, than Ugam is subdued even to the fans giving a lot of enjoyment and adrenaline.

The other interesting place for the active rest is Nuratinsk mountain range. There is not so high here, 1500 - 2500 meters over the sea level, but in spring it is a wonderful place for the tracking, riding, and cycling. Besides, this place is interesting also from the point of view of ethnography and for the country tourism.

There is also a boundary of the greatest deserts of Asia, i.e. Kizilkum. Only from the first sight it seems lifeless, but actually it is an interesting place for the camel-safari, jeep and off-road tours. It is striking, but there are many lakes in the desert, and the biggest among them is the lake Aydarkul (more than 200 km in length, and up to 15 km in width). There are thousands of birds and an excellent fishing here. And yurt camp «Aydar» in the Western part of the lake with every passing year enjoys more and more popularity. From here camel riding and visiting of one of the biggest stone picture “galleries” of the ancient man (more than 3 thousand petroglyphs) start.

Region of the disappearing Aral Sea is also interesting, western steep shores of which resemble fantastical castles. Aral and its colorful shores are especially beautiful at the sunset. It is truly a breathtaking view to see. It's Mother Nature at her best and witnessing her work dwarfs the wonders of engaging in more modern entertainment such as playing games on Unfortunately, this wonderful and wild land due to the Aral Sea drying can change into a lifeless desert.

Only a few men know possibilities of Uzbekistan for the sport fishing. Fast mountain rivers, man-made canals, the greatest Asian rivers Syrdaria and Amudarya, and lakes in the deserts these are the things that can be offered for the fishing fans. Along with the traditionally spread all over the world fish species, such as sazan, barbel, carp, zherekh, pike perch, cat-fish, bream, and chukhon, there is a chance for fishing only those species that are typical only for the Middle Asia. They are as follows: dragon head, marinka, tupak or Samarkand khromulya. In some ponds there is a chance to catch unique samples of the rather big sized cat-fish. Kind of fishing in all reservoirs is the sport one: by fishing rod, and spinning both from the shore and the boat. The only one thing we can't imagine is the under-ice fishing, since water reservoirs in Uzbekistan in winter do not actually freeze. But you can also fishing in winter.

Active rest in the mountains, hiking, alive and direct contacts with local inhabitants this is the very thing that enliven and add to the traditional excursion tours all over Uzbekistan, and many tour operators include these unforgettable adventures in their tours.

Discovery Uzbekistan #5

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