Silk Road Samarkand, the first large-scale tourism complex in Central Asia

Sophie Ibbotson

Tourism consultant for national governments and the World Bank. Author of five guidebooks published by Bradt Travel Guides, and is Uzbekistan’s official ambassador for tourism.

Samarkand is a city which has reincarnated itself time and again. Many times it has been destroyed or decayed and been rebuilt, and every new generation has added their own infrastructure and monuments. And so it is with out generation: 2022 saw the opening of not only Samarkand’s magnificent new airport terminal, the design of which was inspired by an open book; but also the equally impressive Silk Road Samarkand, the first large-scale tourism complex in Central Asia.

Silk Road Samarkand covers a 260 hectare site on the eastern side of the city. It incorporates the old rowing canal, which now looks like a river through an oasis, with parks and gardens on either side. Above the greenery rise eight new luxury hotels, including the first 5* hotels in Samarkand. Regency Samarkand Amir Temur has been selected to join the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) group; Savitsky Hotel takes its inspiration from the Savitsky Museum in Nukus, Karakalpakstan; and four of the hotels have a wellness focus. If you prefer something a little more intimate, you can also rent a chalet in the attractive Eco Village.

There is more to Silk Road Samarkand than just places to stay, however. The SCO and UNWTO have already booked major international events in the complex’s congress hall, which has space for 3,500 delegates and plenty of meeting rooms. There are bars, restaurants, galleries, and shops, plus the Eternal City.

The Eternal City has been designed by contemporary Uzbek artist Bobur Ismailov. Inspired by Uzbekistan’s rich history, he has created a spectacular entertainment centre with buildings reminiscent of the country’s ancient and mediaeval monuments. Everything is completely new but it feels as if you are stepping back in time. The Eternal City isn’t something you just see, however; it is something you experience. Many of the buildings house workshops and galleries, so you can meet and learn from artists and craftsmen. Ceramicists, silk weavers, carpet makers, and puppet masters are all working here, and dancers and musicians are performing. Last but not least are the bakers and chefs, who are cooking up delicious treats to complete your multisensory travel experience.

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