Uzbekistan takes hold of the imagination and does not let go. Central Asia's cradle of culture for more than two millennia, Uzbekistan is the proud home to a mesmerizing arsenal of ancient cities and architecture, all deeply infused with the fascinating history of the legendary Silk Road. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva never fail to impress visitors with their fabulous mosques, medressas and mausoleums, while its more eccentric attractions, such as the fast disappearing Aral Sea, its boom town capital Tashkent mean that even the most diverse tastes can be catered for. Despite being a harshly governed police state, Uzbekistan remains an extremely friendly country where hospitality remains an essential element of daily life and you'll be made to feel genuinely welcome by the people you meet.