Uzbekistan isn’t all cities. In fact, much of the country is taken up by mountains and the vast Kyzylkum Desert. These areas have fewer people, leaving them relatively untouched, but there have been people there for centuries. Heading out into nature gives you a completely new view of Uzbekistan. You can spend a night in a yurt, living the way that nomads have lived for centuries, or set out on a hike through narrow canyons of the Chimgan Mountains, not far from Tashkent. Some of Uzbekistan’s geographical features are man-made, such as the otherworldly plains revealed by the receding Aral Sea, or Aydarkul Lake, formed by a dam in 1969. Any of these destinations makes for an excellent change of pace from busy city life, or can even be a destination of their own right.

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