Navoi is a modern industrial city and the administrative centre of Navoi Region, but it borders a much older settlement, Karmana, and from a tourist perspective, these cities are one and the same. It is likely that you will arrive in Navoi by high speed train and stay in one of the city’s comfortable hotels, but then explore the historic sites of Karmana, including its stunning Silk Road caravanserai. Almost all of Uzbekistan’s tourists pass through Navoi en route from Samarkand to Bukhara, but few of them stop to appreciate the city’s many attractions. They are missing out, as not only is there a lot of interest to see, but the sites are much less crowded than those in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Karmana is Old Navoi, and it was founded around the time of the Arab Invasion. It quickly became an important staging post on the Silk Road, and you can still visit the 11th century Rabati Malik (the royal caravanserai) and the Sardoba Malik (its domed water reservoir), built by the Karakhanids, close to Navoi Airport. Both of these sites are on UNESCO’s tentative list for World Heritage Site status.

Other important historic sites in Karmana include the Said Bakhrom Mausoleum, with its decorative medieval brickwork; and the Kosim Shaikh Khanagha, built in the 16th century as a hostel for Sufi holy men.

  • Alisher Navoi Park
  • Kosim Shaikh Khanagha
  • Navoi Bazaar
  • Rabati Malik and Sardoba Malik
  • Said Bakhrom Mausoleum

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