"Away from the Silk Road" Nurata by toonsarah

Nurata Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 55 photos

Imam at Nurata

Nurata is less-visited than the other stops on our tour, and with some reason as it has far fewer obvious sights. But it isn?t without its attractions, including the hill-top fortress (said to date from the time of Alexander the Great), a couple of interesting mosques, a lively market and some pools held to be sacred and swarming with equally sacred fish.

And to the south is Karmana, worth a stop to see the old well, roadside caravanserai and interesting mausoleum.

Into the Kyzyl Kum Desert

This is also a good jumping off spot for a visit to the Kyzyl Kum (meaning ?red sands?) Desert, where you can sleep in a traditional yurt; take a camel ride across the dunes and imagine yourself in a caravan of old; swim in the cooling waters of Aidarkul Lake and see ancient petroglyphs etched in the rocky hillsides.

We visited Uzbekistan with a tour organised by Explore, who specialise in smaller group tours and often go off the beaten track. Travelling this way meant we could get more easily to some of these out of the way destinations, although there are downsides to group travel as well. I?ve written more about our tour on my Uzbekistan page.

A few words about my Uzbekistan pages

1. On the whole, I?ve written tips about the local customs and way of life on my Uzbekistan page. I?ve also included there some general information on things like packing, planning your visit etc. and some warnings. You may find some of this info duplicated here, but only where I feel it?s of particular relevance to do so.

2. Uzbek place names have several spellings. For instance, Nurata may also be spelt as Nurota. I?ve used the version taken from the excellent guidebook, ?Uzbekistan: the Golden Road to Samarkand? (written by Calum MacLeod & Bradley Mayhew, published by Odyssey) which uses the most common form for well-known place-names (e.g. Tashkent rather than Toshkent) but adopts the newer Uzbek Latin spelling for street names, buildings etc.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good jumping-off point for a trip to the desert
  • Cons:Less to see in the town itself
  • In a nutshell:A night in a yurt is a very special experience
  • Last visit to Nurata: Jul 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (16)

Comments (23)

  • Feb 3, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    Sarah-Your Uzbekistan pages are great. We are a group of 12 people visiting Uzbekistan in MAY 2013. I am interested in the experience of having a meal eith the family as you did in Nurata,

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Mar 12, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    I visited Uzbekistan and Kyzyl Kum Desert but I did not know anything about Nurata until today! Great discovery through your tips and pics. Thanks Sarah!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Hello, Sarah! Your Uzbekistan pages are superb! They made me feel like travelling there... I wish I could...

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Not sure about staying in a yurt with others, but I am sure it was still a fascinating experience. Seeing Alexander the Great?s Fortress must have been impressive. Lovely page!

  • May 14, 2009 at 2:58 AM

    Great tips a lot of information

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Interesting tips about sleeping in the yurt camp and swimming in Aidarkul Lake. Alexander the Great's Fortress still sounds impressive, even though it is mostly in ruins -- but I guess that's to be expected, since 327 B.C. was a very long time ago.

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Sarah, I enjoyed to read your experiences in the desert with your stay in the yurt and a camelride. This summer we visited also the caravansaray and well close to Karmana.

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2008 at 5:21 PM

    Another great page. To bad about the camel ride. Glad you fianlly got to go for a swim.

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    Wonderful page, Sarah. Good luck in Ecuador, but watch out for pickpockets (look at my warnings on my Cuenca page).

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2008 at 10:50 AM

    Your page is so interesting and I wish I could go there too. I'd love the camel ride and the camping!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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