This area in Central Asia has been the cradle of culture for thousands of years. What is now Uzbekistan is home to a mesmerizing collection of architecture and ancient cities, all deeply connected with the history of the Silk Road. From pistes in Chimgan and Beledrsay to sultry sands of the Karakum desert, the Uzbek culture has something to offer for every kind of traveler. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva have some of the most impressive mosques, medressas and mausoleums in the region. Other popular attractions are near the Aral Sea. The Nuratau Mountains offers many ecotourism opportunities.