The Uzbekistan Visa Hassles
After my quick 4 day adventure in Kyrgyzstan (100+ Photos), it was time to venture into another Ex-communist state of Uzbekistan.
Unfortunately, I made a miscalculation on my requirements for entering Uzbekistan.
Previously, there was an article stating that the President of Uzbekistan had opened the visa requirements for certain countries, including Canadian passport holders.
But 2 days before making my trip into Uzbekistan, I read about the revision stating that the visa-free policy wasn't going to go into effect until January, 2021.
So, a Canadian citizen, I had to first get a letter of invitation into Uzbekistan, and then apply for a visa with that letter.
The letter of invitation into Uzbekistan took a simple Google search (Caravanistan), and apparently, they had an expedited service.
So I sent a copy of my passport, and the necessary documents, and paid the extra cost of making sure everything was processed quickly on a friday.
Not wanting to stay in Kyrgyzstan, I decided to return to Almaty, Kazakhstan (50+ Photos), and rent a place for 7 days, while I waited.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan Video Review + Visa Issues
Tashkent, Uzbekistan Visa Hassles Continued
By Tuesday, the letter of invitation was complete, and it was time to hit up the Uzbekistan Embassy in Almaty.
I ended up walking to a hotel to print off a copy of the letter, and then walking all the way to the embassy (about 3-4 km in total of high-speed walking).
Once you arrive at the embassy, a man looks over your papers, and tells you if you need anything else.
Once you have everything he lets you through… into a tiny room, that was absolutely crammed with people.
This part was hilarious, because it was about 50+ people, all trying to give their documents to the immigration officer, without any clear indication of organization.
There was an old lady hyper-ventilation and having a panic attack, people yelling because they've been waiting in line for hours, and me being confused at how this was supposed to work.
Eventually, the immigration officer came out, and you basically have to reach out your arm over dozens of people to hand him your documents, including passport.
The immigration officer told everyone that only express-paying passports will be processed due to a lack of Visa stickers.
He then goes back into his door, and you wait. After about 30 minutes, he comes out, and gives you a piece of paper… a bank note, that you need to pay at the bank for your Visa.
So you head over the bank, about 1 km away, and wait in line to pay your bank note.
Once that's done, you head back to the immigration office, and wait for the immigration officer to come out again… at which point you hand him your paid bank note… and he disappears.
Then within 20 minutes or so, he comes back out, with your passport, and you receive a fancy sticker.
In total, I paid about $80 for an express Letter of Invitation for a 15 day stay in Uzbekistan.
Another $60 for an express Visa, and $100 for a flight from Almaty into Tashkent (all in USD).
The one thing I really recommend for the Uzbekistan Embassy in Almaty, is that they REALLY improve their organization… it felt like a massive chicken fight in a cage trying to figure out what was going on, and trying to get your papers to the immigration officer.
Anyways, let's adventure!
Where is Tashkent, Uzbekistan?
A Post Communist, And New-Age Islam
Whichever way you look, Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.
Since 1991, one man has basically controlled Uzbekistan, under a mostly dictatorship-style government, while initiating a post-soviet reformation from absolute chaos and anarchy.
As of 2017, a new president is now in office, and is seeking to liberalize the entire country by apologizing for past mistakes, giving large economic incentives for international investments, establishing communication with presidents from other countries, and allowing the Islamic religion more room to flourish.
Within the next several years, Uzbekistan will most definitely be a prime tourism and investment destination for many foreigners.
Oh, and Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan 🙂
Economic liberalization in Uzbekistan is rapidly bringing in major worldwide brands
On the left, a traditional soviet-era apartment, now features an advertisement for new condo developments, on a traditional soviet-era artistic design (underneath).
An apartment complex in Tashkent with detached balconeys
Detached balconies on a one-of-a-kind apartment in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
An array of Uzbekistan flags
Alisher Navoï Opera in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Walking on the street in the center of the city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A Statue of Amir Timur in the center of Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A slavic-looking lady consults Uzbekistan police
Uzbek police guide traffic
Looking towards the TV tower in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Workers sitting down for lunch before continuing to build new developments in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
This entire area in Tashkent, Uzbekistan will be demolished and gentrified (redeveloped)
Cleaners in downtown Tashkent are working actively to beautify the city
McDonalds? or a copycat in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Security in Tashkent, Uzbekistan is a major concern. Islamic extremism crawls around in the society, despite being a predominantly Islamic country. Before entering the metro (subway), security will check your bags.
Soviet-era sculptures in the metro stations in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A bee lands on my finger in the metro system in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Uzbek locals are a mix of slavic, mongol, and turkic blood (among many others).
The Chorsu market in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A man sells his penuts in the Chorsu marketplace in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Traditional miniature sculptures in Uzbekistan feature merchants from the history of the Silk Road
A local man in Tashkent, Uzbekistan sells his vegetables.
An older Uzbek woman counts her money in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A miniature statue holds traditional Uzbek ‘Obi Nan' bread in his hand
An older Uzbek man holds money in his hand in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
The Chorsu market dome in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A man walks with his purchases in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
The market consists of individual sellers, selling their grown goods in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A boy looks at a pyramid of freshly grown fruits in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A shawarma in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Traditional middle eastern food consisting of meat, a pita, and vegetables
Ko'kaldosh Madrasasi (Kukeldash Madrasah) built in 1570 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The original reconstructed several times over the centuries.
The facade of the Kukeldash Madrasah. It is the only Madrasah that survived an earthquake in 1966, that left 300,000 people homeless in Tashkent, and 80% of the city destroyed.
Inside the ancient Kukeldash Madrasah (arabic word for Institution) built in 1570.
Barak-Khan Madrasah built in the 16th century in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Another section of the Barak-Khan Madrasah built in the 16th century in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Leonidas in front of the Barak-Khan Madrasah built in the 16th century in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A painting of a Madrasah in medieval times in Uzbekistan
A painting of a minaret in Uzbekistan in medieval times.
A painting of a madrassah and Minaret in Uzbekistan from a long time ago
The front facade of the Barak-Khan Madrasah in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A medieval representation of madrasas in Uzbekistan, framed in wool
Caravans with camels in medieval Uzbekistan. A painting, framed in wool
The medieval city of Khiva, one of the most important cities along the ancient Silk road.
A painting of a large Madrassah in medieval Uzbekistan. A center for trade, worship, and education.
Behind the facade of a Madrassah in Tashkent
A medieval tomb in Uzbekistan
The minor Mosque. A new mosque construction in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A local poses in front of the minor Mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A facade of the minor mosque is very decorative and stylized in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Inside the minor mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, overlooked by 2 minarets
The gatekeeper in the minor mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Posing inside the minor mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
A Mercedes parked in front of the minor mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Rowers training in the river in Tashkent
The Tashkent TV Tower, finished in 1985, used to spread radio and TV signals all over Uzbekistan
The Tashkent TV Tower is the second tallest in Central asia, and the 11th tallest in the world (as of Feb 2018)
The Tashkent TV Tower was the 3rd tallest tower in the world from 1985 until 1991.
In total, the tower is 375 meters tall, and serves Tashkent province for radio and TV signals, as well as government communications.
Other tall structures in the world. A museum inside the Tashkent TV Tower
Amir Timur (1336-1405 CE) is the historically revitalized hero for the people of Uzbekistan.
Amir Timur (1336-1405 CE) was warlord that captured almost as much area as Genghis Khan. He was vilified for building pyramids from decapitated bodies in several cities during his conquests.
Amir Timur (1336-1405 CE) led his band of thieves from the age of 17, up until his last conquest at the age of 68 into China. His empire lasted 137 years, but is rarely recognized in Western educations.
Palace of International Forums Uzbekistan for acts of state, congresses, conferences and other cultural highlights.
State Museum of History of Uzbekistan featuring ‘archaeology, history, numismatics, and ethnography of Uzbekistan'.
An interesting architectural design in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
State Museum of the History Of Uzbekistan entrance
A quote to inspire the nation, during a time of chaotic anarchy and a mafia state in Uzbekistan (after the fall of the Soviet Union).
Neanderthal man. One of the earliest great apes found in Uzbekistan. Or perhaps an even earlier species of great ape.
Stone age humans exploit their land in the areas of Uzbekistan and beyond.
A neolithic silicon extraction mine.
A village near a river in the pre-industrial age.
Bronze-age blacksmiths and soldiers
An old fortress during the medieval period in central asian history
A fortress in central asian history in Uzbekistan
Amir Timur or Tamerlane was a ruthless warlord, who kept his armies constantly on the march, towards many victories.
Central asian armor and weaponry during a certain medieval period.
Capturing a city in medieval central asia. Victory meant stealing everything, killing the men and children, and raping the women.
A fake court sentencing locals to death or heavy fees in medieval Uzbekistan. Nothing was fair.
Armor worn by horses during the reign of Tamurlane (1336-1405 CE)
Timur (‘iron') managed to kill about 17 million people through his reign. He used Islam as a way to unite his forces under a political story. Unfortunately, most of his victims were muslims.
During the invasion of Baghdad in 1399 by Amir Timur, every soldier was required to show 2 decapitated heads, from a predominantly Christian population.
Amir Timur was nicknamed ‘Tamerlane' due to injuries on his hand, arm, and leg – causing a ‘lame' or disabled lifestyle, despite his overwhelming successes in conquests.
One of the very first photos taken in Uzbekistan
Medieval turko-mongol lifestyles in the Uzbek regions.
Beheading enemy soldiers was a common activity after a victory.
Pre-industrial age soldiers dressed for cold weather in central asia
Russian imperial forces traveling towards Uzbek cities for conquest, starting in 1865 (after the conquests of the Caucasus)
A water well used to satiate the thirst of Russian imperial forces during their conquests of Uzbekistan in 1860's.
The Russian invasion of Bukhara Ark Fortress in 1920?
Imperial Russian forces besieging a city in Uzbekistan from 1865-1868
Traditional Uzbek attire, probably after the conquests of the Imperial Russian armies.
Uzbek men given the option to accept the communist government, or face death in the 1920's.
An Uzbek man marries an Uzbek woman. Although being an Islamic marriage, it looks more like a typical secular, almost soviet-era-like marriage (simple).
Female clothes from all of the former USSR countries.
Typical Uzbek people. A mixture of mongol, turkic, and slavic blood, all intermixed.
A mixture of the Uzbekistan population
Independence Square in Tashkent – On September 1st, 1991, Uzbekistan gained independence from the USSR.
Independance from the USSR ment liberation from communist authoritarianism, but being plunged into a dark anarchy of lawlessness, complete loss of savings, high murder rates, decades of economic stagnation and unemployment, and hopelessness.
The entire USSR was thrown into a mafia state, with constant murder, strife, and abuse of power, as well as, small groups of people confiscating nation-level resources to become overnight billionaires. Uzbekistan was not spared.
Uzbekistan Yoshlar Ijod – Palace of Youth Creativity
Uzbekistan has an extensive paintings market. Some of the most beautiful paintings of Uzbekistan, and other locations in the world are featured here.
Paintings in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Paintings in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Paintings in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Lunch in Tashkent, Uzbekistan – Plov (rice with vegetables, meat, and raisins), and a Nan bread. On the left is my winter gloves (not very warm at all), a 20100mAh battery pack, a sony Xperia Z5 compact, and a Fanta Shokata orange soda
A painting of a European country. Could be St. Petersburg
Paintings of Middle Eastern Caravans traveling the deserts across the Silk Road.
The ruins of a Madrassah in Uzbekistan – painting
A madrassah surrounded by caravan trading outposts
Most likely the Registan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan – painting
Another representation of the Registan in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Bears in the woods of Russia – painting
A painting of a city in Eastern europe
Paintings of local uzbek men in traditional clothing
A painting of a Madrassah in Uzbekistan pre-industrialization
A painting of the Arc fortress in Bukhara, Uzbekistan in medieval times
A market place around a madrassah in Uzbekistan – painting
A painting of Paris, France – probably shortly after implementing electricity
Painting of an uzbek man smoking sheesha, or flavoured tobacco in medieval times
A painting of madrassah in Uzbekistan during medieval times
Various paintings of local Uzbek men in traditional clothing and occupations
Russian men, most likely during the Russian empire
A painting of Venice, Italy – another really amazing historical city in the world
A painting of a Madrassah in Uzbekistan during medieval times
A painting of a forum or tomb during medieval times in Uzbekistan
A group of caravaners discuss something outside a tomb, palace or forum in Uzbekistan
Uzbek women in traditional attire (2 on the left), and an uzbek woman from a more modern generation (right) – paintings
Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan – painting
3 friends of business partners on camels travel along the silk road in medieval Uzbekistan
A caravan travels along the silk road in Uzbekistan – painting
A caravan crosses a shallow river along the silk road in medieval Uzbekistan – painting
A group of men rest inside a hostel in medieval uzbekistan
Uzbek men congregate inside a madrassah or market place in medieval uzbekistan – painting
A painting of a local uzbek man selling Plov (rice with raisins, meat, and other vegetables), nan (bread) along the silk road in Uzbekistan
A painting of a local uzbek man selling Plov (rice with raisins, meat, and other vegetables) along the silk road in Uzbekistan
A minaret in the distance, in a city in Uzbekistan – could be Khiva – painting
A minaret shadows a village in Uzbekistan
Amir Timur square, with the Hotel Uzbekistan on the left, and the Palace of International Forums on the right
Amir Timur (‘Tamerlane', 1336-1405) is the contemporary national hero of Uzbekistan. The soviet union suppressed history about his conquests to prevent the uzbek people from creating a nationalist uprising. Amir conquered almost as much territory as Gengis Khan, at the expense of killing 17 million humans along the way and building towers out of decapitated heads. His empire lasted 137 years.
Conclusions for Tashkent, Uzbekistan
I typically like getting a sim card in every country I travel to, in order to maintain logistics, safety, and calculate costs.
But getting a sim card in Uzbekistan requires finding a major cellular operator… in this case, I went to the flagship UMS store (unlike other countries where you can just buy a sim card anywhere).
But you also need a registration slip from your hotel which indicates that you will stay for several weeks, and your passport.
Unfortunately, the internet speeds in Uzbekistan are absolutely horrendous, to say the least. Any chance of being a digital nomad here is shot, when you try to upload anything about 20 megabytes.
After a 4 day stay in Tashkent, I flew to Khiva, Uzbekistan, which was probably the most interesting, ancient, and archaic city I had been to in a long time!