The Uzbekistan government places great importance on the development of tourism, especially “Ziyorat” tourism. “Ziyorat” means “visiting holy places” and comprises pilgrimage tourism along with religious tourism excursions and cognitive orientation.
InTashkent, one can visit the Hast Imam (a complex of Hazrati Imam) religious centre. Madrassah of Barakkhan, a member of the complex of Hazrati Imam, is the repository of one of the most valuable relics of Islam – the Koran of Caliph Osman.
The Ottoman Quran is recognised as a source of the Holy Book of Islam. The Koran, created in the middle of the 7th century, consists of 353 parchment sheets of deerskin. According to legend, particles of blood, which belonged to the Caliph Osman, are preserved on the pages of the Holy Book. Bukhara, known as the ‘holy city’, has an unprecedented number of mosques and tombs of Muslim saints.
In the Bukhara region, there are seven tombs of the great Sufi Naqshbandi brotherhood, one of the most influential Sufi brotherhoods in Uzbekistan. Samarkand is the famous necropolis of Shakhi Zinda; here a cousin of Prophet Muhammad, Kusam Ibn Abbas, is buried; a mausoleum of Khoja Daniar is also present here. The mausoleum is a crypt about 18 metres long. According to legend, the tomb is constantly expanding.
This mausoleum is a pilgrimage site for both locals and visitors from around the world. A pistachio tree near the grave, which stood dead for about 400 years, reportedly blossomed, when in November 1996, it was sprinkled with holy water during a joint prayer service with Jewish and Muslim clergy.
So, when you plan your next ‘time-off’ from the hectic routine of life, if retrospection, introspection and reflection are the high points on your itinerary, Uzbekistan could, definitely be on your list as a country of discovery and re-discovery.