Tourism News from the region

Failed Olympic bid will boost Almaty tourism profile

Despite falling at the last hurdle, the Almaty Winter Olympics bid committee says its ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2022 Games has greatly raised the city's profile.

Almaty 2022 vice chairman Andrey Kryukov said the bid had given Almaty and Kazakhstan a good foundation for further developing tourism and attracting major sport events in the future.

"By bidding for the Winter Games we showed the world the amazing progress that Kazakhstan has made since its independence. This alone is a major victory for our country. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to showcase our country to the world," Kryukov said.

"I have no doubt that after seeing and hearing about our real venues, beautiful mountains, diverse culture and vibrant, cosmopolitan city the entire world now knows exactly what we mean by 'Keeping it Real.'  

Almaty was a huge underdog against winner Beijing which has a global pedigree as host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympics, but the IOC vote was a close call.

The final vote was 44-40 in Beijing's favour and the Chinese capital will now have the distinction as the world's only city to host both winter and summer games.

Almaty's bid rested on its Olympic village and venues being all within a 30 mile radius and an unlimited supply of natural snow, however Beijing's financial clout and global profile gave it the edge.

"Consistent with our long-term winter sports development plan, we will continue to develop our city into a winter sports hub for all of Central Asia. Our region will continue to benefit from our city's abundance of winter sports venues, and we remain committed to bringing major events to our city," Kryukov added.

Monday, August 3, 2015

 Uzbekistan Kyrgystan Kazakhstan Turkmenistan

These ancient areas have been at the centre of the ‘Silk Road’ since the route was first operating. After the downfall of the Soviet Empire, their national character is once again establishing itself on the world stage. Facing immense problems related to economics, internal corruption and environmental issues, their opening to tourism starts to put a value on their cultural and environmental resources. This area is still to be considered ‘basic’ in its infrastructure and to some of us this is what appeals. For those who require higher standards, at least you are pre-warned and so should enjoy it more when visiting.

The Magic Names

SAMARKAND The ancient capital of the large ‘Tamerlon’s Empire’. Today the monuments of that time still impart awe upon visitors, with their shear size, mosaic work and architectural symmetry. To wander the ancient streets of this city and then to browse amongst the stalls of the bazaar are but some of the pleasures to await the visitor.

The 7000 metre PEAKS For hiking and climbing enthusiasts this area contains some famous names. The Pamir Range is home to such peaks as Lenin Peak (7,134 metres) and Communism Peak (7,105 metres). The Pobeda Peak (7,439 metres) and Khan Tengri Peak at 7,010 metres form part of the Tien-Shan range. Naturally mountain climbers can climb these peaks and hiking enthusiast can hike in the areas observing these grand mountains from lower altitudes.

The PAMIR – ALAI This land of lakes and mountains with great natural beauty lures many outdoor enthusiasts to this area during summer months. Hiking in this area provides a wealth of experiences to the visitor with opportunities to meet local nomadic tribes This area is known as the ‘Asian Patagonia’ with its pointed peaks, vertical rock walls and large glaciers.

There are a wide variety of travel options for these historical areas. In past years we have stated that the area was overpriced and too restrictive. We also said that things change and change they have. Travel is now a little easier and costs are more reasonable - not perfect, but manageable.


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BUKHARA Considered in some circles to be one of the most ancient cities still occupied. Reputed to be 2,500 years old, it might well lay claim to this title. The gold embroidery and coinage are well regarded amongst collectors around the world. Many ancient buildings survive to this day, an example being, Samanids’s Mausoleum dating from the 9th century and noted for its geometric strictness.

KHIVA can lay claim to being one of the few ‘Museum Cities’ in the world. The main points of interest are today preserved within the old city (Ichan Kola) which is still surrounded by fortress like walls, inducing a feeling of time having stood still. Here you will find the palace of ‘Khiva Khan’ and the richly carved wooden gates of the ‘Madrash’ and many Mosques. It seems that every house is decorated with unique patterns all adding to the ambiance of this remote city.

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Central Asia Touring Itineraries Article about Central Asian Ceramics
Article about Golf - a foreign game in a foreign land! Uzbek National Dress
About the Poet Flecker and his poem;
The Road to Samarkand
The 'Skull Caps' of Central Asia - Cultural Icon.
Melons - THE food of Central Asia 'Plov' - the classic food of Uzbekistan
Ancient History Uzbekistan Wall Hangings and Needlework
Central Asian Metalwork Carved Wood Art
Tea House Tradition Uzbekistan Nature Reserves
Uzbekistan Jewelery Uzbekistan Carpets
The Eternal Fire of Janbas-Kala Central Asia Guide Books
Heritage of Fergana armourers Railway Timetable
Embroidery   Map of region
Fashions of Tajikistan  

Recent Comments

Dear Helen,
Today, I have my Uzbekistan visa without a hitch. Many thanks.
There are a few hints I might mention which you could file away for any future clients who want to collect their Uzbek visa in Istanbul.
1. The consulate is way out of town in a leafy and boaty (and filthy rich) suburb on the Bosphorus called Istinye ( other consulates are there -- they choose it for their lifestyle rather than the convenience of travelers). It takes anything up to an hour or more, depending on the traffic by bus Route 24E from the bus/tram interchange at Kabbatas on the eastern side of the Golden Horn to get there. There is a ferry from Kabbatas, but it has only two services a day, early morning and early evening, 5.55pm return. The bus follows the coast of the Bosphorus all the way, so it's quite a scenic trip.
2. The consulate is open to receive applications only on Mon., Wed., and Friday between 10a.m. and 12 noon. (I pitched up first on Tuesday and had to trail all the way back to town, to find the archaeological museum also shut!)
3. With the right papers, which you gave me, they process the visa on the same day, returning your passport with visa at 3p.m. Well at 3.30 pm on the day I was there; about 25 people left to swelter in the sun on the street outside before they would let us in. So it does mean hanging around Istinye for 5 or 6 hours watching the boaties at work, which wipes out a day. I did a bit of necessary shopping.
Hope this might be of use to you.
Best wishes,