Come to Uzbekistan and be spellbound by its epic architecture and ancient cities, which all gives a glimpse into the fascinating history of the Silk Road. You can’t help but be blown away by its fabulous mosques, madrassas and mausoleums. Wandering the streets here, is akin to stepping back in time and discovering the country’s interesting past. Culture vultures will adore the technicolour bazaars, fascinating Soviet buildings, and parks in Samarkand. You can visit most of Samarkand’s high-profile attractions in two or three days. If you are short on time, then at least see the Registan, Gur-e-Amir, Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-i-Zinda. Other top destinations include Bukhara, which is Central Asia’s holiest city and boasts buildings that span a thousand years of history. In fact, its thoroughly lived-in old centre has not changed much in two centuries. Most of the centre is an architectural preserve, and is full of madrassas, minarets, a massive royal fortress and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. A trip to Uzbekistan would not be complete without a visit to Khiva. This was once a major stop on the Silk Road as all the caravans stopped here on their way to China and back. Most of Khiva is an open-air museum. And the nucleus of this museum is castle Itchan-Kala. This stunning fortress boasts marvellous minarets, and stone-paved alleys that lead to a madrassa. If you are after more eccentric attractions in Uzbekistan, then be sure to check out the fast disappearing Aral Sea, the fortresses of remote Karakalpakstan, its boom town capital Tashkent and the ecotourism opportunities in Nuratau Mountains. Another selling point, is its friendly locals who genuinely welcome travellers onto its mysterious and mesmerising shores.