Halal-friendly holidays in Uzbekistan
Located in the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is a former Soviet republic and double-landlocked country that was also a major thoroughfare along the Silk Road. Besieged for centuries by waves of traders, nomads and conquerors, the remaining architectural heritage is impressive. It also offers a remarkable variety of spectacular landscapes, including mountains, arid desert, open steppe, lush oases and fertile river valleys. Lastly, Uzbekistan is known for being an extremely friendly country where the people will make you feel genuinely welcome.
Is Uzbekistan Muslim-friendly?
With an estimated 96% Muslim population, Uzbekistan is a very Muslim-friendly country where halal food is widely available. Additionally, there are many mosques across the country where you can perform your daily prayers.
Is there halal food in Uzbekistan?
Since Uzbekistan is a Muslim-majority country, halal food is widespread. Uzbek cuisine is characterised by the rich use of herbs, vegetables and meat, especially lamb and beef, and is among the most delicious in the world.
Are there halal-friendly hotels in Uzbekistan?
Many hotels in Uzbekistan serve halal food only and most of them serve some halal food. There are a few hotels with alcohol-free restaurants on site that serve halal food only.
What are the top attractions for Muslims to visit in Uzbekistan?
Samarkand - Samarkand is considered a hub of world cultures with a 3,500-year history and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Alexander the Great, the Arab conquest, Genghis Khan and finally the great conqueror Timur all had a major impact on the city's vibrant culture. Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Muslim World,” it is home to a wealth of Islamic architecture and art, such as the Bibi Khanum Mosque, the Gur Emir Mausoleums, Registan Square and the Ulugbek Observatory.
Tashkent - As the capital of Uzbekistan, it is also the largest city in Central Asia. The city features wide avenues and green alleys with architecture from different eras, including Soviet architecture, modern architecture, and centuries-old minarets and mosques. One of the city's main attractions is the Khazrati Imam/Hast Imam complex. Its library is said to contain one of the world's oldest Korans from the 8th century.
Bukhara - Bukhara has been an important centre of Islamic theology and science for many centuries and is considered one of the best examples of a well-preserved Central Asian Islamic city from the 10th to 17th centuries. It contains almost 140 architectural monuments from the Middle Ages and its historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Khiva - Khiva's old town, Itchan Kala, was the first place in Uzbekistan to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 due to its importance to the Silk Road route. Khiva is known as “the museum under the sky” due to its incredibly well-preserved historical architecture and landmarks. Surrounded by thick mud walls, Itchan Kala is home to over 50 historical monuments.
Aydarkul Lake and Nurata Mountains - Created during the Soviet era, Lake Aydarkul is a huge semi-artificial lake that stretches for about 250 kilometres and is located in the middle of the Kyzylkum Desert. It is home to several dozen species of fish and numerous birds. Surrounded by ancient villages, steppe, desert and lakes, the Nurata Mountains are a great place for nature hikes and there are also yurts where you can stay overnight.
Are there mosques in Uzbekistan?
Since most people in Uzbekistan are Muslims, there are numerous mosques open for daily prayers, with over 150 in Tashkent alone. Here some examples:
Bibi Khanum Mosque - This iconic mosque in Samarkand is probably the most famous in all of Uzbekistan and certainly one of the most important in the Islamic world. Famous for its turquoise domes and sheer size, it is open for daily prayers and Jumu'ah Khutbahs.
Islam Ota Mosque - The Islam Ota Mosque in Tashkent is one of the oldest in Uzbekistan and is named after the country's first president, Islam Karimov. It can accommodate 10,000 worshipers and has a library full of manuscripts.
Minor Mosque - Located in Tashkent right on the banks of the Ankhor River, the Minor Mosque is one of the city's newest mosques. It can accommodate up to 2,500 worshipers and there is a gold qibla facing towards Mecca.
Hasan Murad Kushbegi Mosque - Located in Khiva, this early 19th century mosque consists of two parts: a summer mosque and a winter mosque.