Uzbekistan is a vast country filled with interesting, beautiful, and sometimes hidden wonders. Yet, it is by no means a “destination” country. In fact, one of the best ways to “see” Uzbekistan is to move around, getting off the beaten track wherever you can. While you can go to Uzbekistan at least once a year and be satisfied with your trip, you can go more often and learn and see more. Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, is India’s Mumbai. Its second-largest city, Fergana, is Afghanistan’s Kabul—a bustling, energetic, and cosmopolitan place with so much to do and see that it’s easy to be drawn into the country.

We are going to share our top 10 reasons for visiting Uzbekistan and why you shouldn’t miss it.

• You can enjoy a meat feast.

Uzbekistan is a country that many people overlook. It’s not crowded like many of its neighbours — all of which we have visited and some of which we are now calling home. One reason we call it home is because of its cuisine. A country of deserts, Uzbekistan has numerous regions that produce some amazing seasonal ingredients. This is a land where kebabs and pilavs meet, and it is where you can get some of the freshest meats in the world.

• A picture-perfect place

Until recently, Uzbekistan was an unknown country to most. But a couple of years ago, the Uzbek government opened its doors to foreign tourists, and the country’s stunning natural landscapes and friendly people led to a tourism boom. With a huge variety of sights, from the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand to the spectacular G-8 Karakum Desert, Uzbekistan’s beauty is hard to beat.

• Uzbekistan is not all mausoleums and mosques.

The country of Uzbekistan, which is located in Central Asia, has been called one of the top 25 most fascinating places on Earth. It is a land of extremes, a country of stark beauty and stark poverty, rich history and recent conflict, where the majority of the population are Muslims. Yet, the nation is ruled by a secular government. The nation that gave us the Silk Road is in the spotlight again, as the Uzbekistan government is building a new UNESCO World Heritage Site that will include the remnants of one of the oldest Silk Road trading towns. The site, which will be built on a site known as the “Merciful Angel” in Nigodar village, will be known as the Amber Road.

• Before anyone goes, you must get there first.

The country has a rich history, beautiful landscapes, fascinating culture and lots of adventures to offer.

• They make handicrafts.

Uzbekistan is one of the world’s most fascinating countries in terms of its cultural traditions, history, and world-famous architectural wonders. Although you might not realize it, there are many crafts and handicrafts that have been passed down through generations of Uzbeks.

• It’s easy to travel around

Uzbekistan is famous for its beautiful landscapes, as well as its friendly and welcoming people. The capital, Tashkent, is a bustling metropolis with a huge variety of historical and modern architectural attractions. The ancient mausoleums of Bukhara and Samarkand, situated just a short distance to the south of the city, are well worth a visit.

• Be amazed by the Soviet architecture in Tashkent.

The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, is one of the most charming cities in Central Asia. Home to the first Soviet government, it has been described as the country’s unifying spirit, a city of parks and palaces. Famed for its onion domes and famous song, Tashkent is an architectural marvel and a must-visit stop on any Uzbekistan trip.

• Get the feels like traveling back in time

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more historic and beautiful country than Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Yes, it’s landlocked, has a population smaller than many states in America, and is sandwiched between two major powers. But that makes it more scenic, and it’s even more fascinating than you might think.

• The UNESCO World Heritage city

A country is not the same thing as a city, and the same is true for cities. While a city is a place where most of us live, a country is a place where we as a people can connect with our history, our roots, our future, and our heritage. For many travellers, Uzbekistan is one of the countries they want to visit, if not in their lifetime, then soon.

• They have the Silk Road and the cultural melting pot.

As per usual, the Silk Road is no longer a secret—it’s the newest hotspot for travellers. But with so many travellers flocking to the region, there is a lot of interest in obtaining the best Silk Road experiences and information. That’s why Travel has been invited by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington D.C. to cover a wide range of topics, including the best of Uzbekistan. While on an official tour of Uzbekistan, the Embassy asked Travel to share his thoughts with his followers as he travels through the region.