Uzbekistan, in the ancient cradle between the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya rivers, is the most culturally fascinating of the Central Asian republics. Within it are some of the oldest towns in the world, some of the Silk Road's main centres and most of the region's architectural splendours. Uzbekistan occupies the heartland of Central Asia and is perhaps the most important of the former Soviet Central Asian republics. On our Uzbekistan tours you can explore the ancient desrt town of Khiva, the old citadel and mosques in fabled Bukhara and marvel at jewels of Islamic art in legendary Samarkand, from which Tamerlane the Magnificent annexed an empire from the Mediterranean to Delhi. His heartland was the Oxus River Valley, the lands of the Central Silk Route and the surrounding Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts.