Written and updated by expert authors who have extensive experience of living and working in Central Asia, this new, fully updated third edition of Bradt's Uzbekistan remains the definitive and only standalone practical travel guide to this increasingly liberal destination - central Asia's most populous country and the heart of the Silk Road. Offering more detail for independent travellers than any other guidebook, it includes first-hand descriptions of everything from UNESCO world heritage sites and the world's best collection of Russian avant-garde art, to riding across deserts by camel and cooking plov.The quintessential Silk Route destination, Uzbekistan is opening up to tourism, easing visa regulations, encouraging family-owned guesthouses, building new railways (including a tunnel to the Fergana Valley) and introducing high-speed trains. With the passing of the post-Soviet strongman Islam Karimov and the election of a more reformist leader, there is an air of change about the country.This new edition includes expanded coverage of hiking, details of new entertainment such as the sound and light show in the Registan in Samarkand, and lots of new practical information, ranging from the increasing availability of ATMs to efforts to develop tourism, visa requirements, availability of SIM cards, haggling for taxis, access to museums and booking accommodation. New maps have also been added and existing maps revised and expanded as appropriate.Whether you're interested in culture, trekking, historical sites, archaeology and architecture, seeing endless deserts or the majestic mountainscapes of the Tien Shan range, or simply fascinated by the golden road to Samarkand and the equally famous Silk Road cities of Bukhara and Khiva, Bradt's Uzbekistan is the ideal companion.
Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare first arrived in central Asia in 2008 when their two auto-rickshaws (tuk-tuks) got snowed in en route from Darjeeling, India, to London. Forced to overwinter, they fell in love with the region and became excited by the opportunities it offered, opening the Kyrgyz office of their investment promotion company, Maximum Exposure Productions (MEP), the following year. Sophie now runs Maximum Exposure Ltd, providing tourism and culture consultancy and PR services, and is the co-founder and managing editor of Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. She is also a member of council of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs (www.rsaa.org.uk). This edition has been updated by Tim Burford, who has spent almost 30 years writing guidebooks, many in the post-Soviet sphere - Romania, Poland and Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia, Dresden and Bratislava. Uzbekistan, therefore, felt familiar from the outset. He says: 'I really don't speak Russian (or Uzbek) and I don't eat meat, so there are challenges, but it's all good fun! The Uzbeks are wonderful people, and in the main Silk Road cities such as Samarkand and Bukhara many younger people now speak English. The infrastructure is also improving fast, especially with new railway lines and high-speed trains, and the political and social systems are becoming much less restrictive. There's lots of scope for outdoor adventure, so that's something I hope we see more of in the future.' Tim studied languages at Oxford and has now written nine guides for Bradt.