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An unusual look ... on Charvak

Botschaft Usbekistan, July 7, 2018

We are all different and each has his own needs, his own interests. Among us there are many curious people who are striving to learn how the faithful keepers of the centuries-old traditions and customs of the peoples of Uzbekistan live. That is why the Association of Private Tourist Organizations is actively developing CBT tourism.

In this direction, a large-scale complex of activities is being implemented within the framework of the European Union project "Strengthening rural and ecotourism through business associations for sustainable economic development in Central Asia". In particular, for representatives of tourism companies, a seminar was organized, which was held by a consultant on the development of tourism from the UK, Peter Richards.

The correspondent of Uzbekistan Today took part in the preparation for the seminar and together with specialists went on a study tour to the village of Sidjak, Bostanlyk district. This place is remarkable because today, when the Charvak coast enters the free tourist economic zone, it will retain the inherent flavor of the traditional way of life of a typical mountain village, but it will become more comfortable for tourists.

Below we offer a look of three people - a correspondent, Peter Richards, and a representative of the Association of Private Tourist Organizations Gulchekhra Isroilova. These opinions are an attempt to assess the extent to which the conditions meet the requirements of the established idea of CBT tourism, and who will have a good rest here.

Personal impressions

The village is located on the shore of Charvak reservoir - one of the favorite places of rest for Tashkent citizens and guests of the capital. After all, it's so cool for a few days to change the urban environment to rest in the mountains near the pond. At the same time, we were not interested in modern hotels and recreation areas, which are enough on this coast, and guest houses. So we were in the mountain village of Sidjak, where we visited four guest houses with the access to the shore of the legendary reservoir. All of them are very different, and this uniqueness can bring its unique flavor to rest.

The guest house, in which we were met by the hostess - Mashkhura Sametova - a traditional building, but the guest rooms were somewhat like a stylized national-style hotel. The arrangement uses a lot of traditional fabrics and modern lighting, there is even a bar counter, a sauna, a bathtub, a basketball play-field - in ordinary houses they do not do so, it's obvious the owners desire to create a chic and rich atmosphere for guests.

Guest house by Zafar Mirzayev is somewhat reminiscent of an ordinary country house, although the layout of the territory is traditional. Just as you go into the courtyard of the dwelling house of the owners, and after going through the entire courtyard - a guest house of two rooms with a sauna, a swimming pool, a modern bathroom. In general, the conditions for guests - well, the most ordinary dacha, have everything for a comfortable stay in the highlands in the shade of large trees.

The next house is the guardian of authentic traditions. A small guest house in the courtyard of an ordinary family with aivan. Nothing extra. A small but roomy house with two rooms: one for men, another for women. On the floor for more roominess - kurpachi. Here the family rests, eight people. In the yard there is a place for cooking on a living fire.

In the house by Sardor Tursunbayev still smells of paint, just finished construction work. This guest house is the embodiment of the housing realities of a family with an average income. Here, traditions coincide with modernity. There are rooms with beds and sofas, and there are with traditional kurpachi. There are swimming pool, sauna, trestle-beds. This is probably not even a guest house, but a hotel for visitors to relax on the Charvak reservoir. According to the owner, at a time ready to take up to 40 people. We met and the owners accompanied us strictly in the traditional style, going to the gate and waiting for our car to hide behind the turn.

In principle, in my opinion, a native Uzbek, all four houses fully reflect the way of life of the local population, which basically they are engaged in that create comfortable conditions for companies coming to Charvak for recreation. Most do not hide that guest houses for them are business, the owners themselves sometimes live and work in Tashkent. This is a kind of dacha district where all the conditions for resting a person who is tired of the city's bustle and wanting to spend time in nature are created, not bothering himself.

View of Peter Richards

We visited an amazingly beautiful area. But let's look at what is happening through the eyes of a businessman involved in the development of the tourist infrastructure and the holidaymaker who chose the CBT tour.

To begin with, let us remember once again what tourism based on communities is a unique tourist product that allows a holidaymaker to get in touch with the traditional way of life of a particular community, not only to plunge, but also for a time to become a participant in this life, to feel the taste and color this life.

What we saw is a mountain village with guest houses offering rest by the water, by a large pond with fishing opportunities, bathing in a pond, rest in a peaceful place and rich fruit orchards.

In my opinion, this place is well suited for recreation of Tashkent residents, who want to spend their days off in nature. Singing birds, the sea of fresh vegetables and fruits, the possibility of cooking on a living fire - all this has not been replaced by excellent conditions for relaxation.

It will be interesting for residents of other regions of the country to get to know the living conditions of this region, specifically this kishlak. They have enough knowledge that in the company for a cup of tea, discuss these features. They will be able to talk for a long time about the local features of cooking pilaf, the identity of the ornament on suzane, in general, will find thousands of fascinating topics.

Now let's look at these conditions through the eyes of a foreigner. How much this area is ready to be promoted in the international tourist market? In this direction, of course, it is still necessary to work here. So far, for an alien, the trip here will look like the most usual trip to rest to a reservoir anywhere in the world. A foreigner here is a guest who came to rest with Uzbek friends or colleagues. Especially from Europe, other countries of the far abroad, no one will go here yet, because once again, similar places in the world a lot, a person with average statistical knowledge about Uzbekistan will find it difficult to find something unique. Inclusion of visits to this area in combined tours for foreign tourists is also will not give good results.

Is it possible to make visiting these places more attractive for foreigners? I think, yes. I will give a few examples that I noticed, and which can be interesting for foreign tourists.

For example, cooking pilaf on fire - it's worth a look, but to make it interesting to an alien, you need to prepare the cooks. The cook should not just cook, but interact with the guests. He not only has to explain, tell what he does, various legends, stories and tales associated with these dishes, but also give the guests a chance to prepare, for example, to help in cleaning and cutting vegetables.

We stayed in one of the houses to taste traditional sour-milk drinks - airan, kamron, guja. I think the cooking process, tasting - can also become interesting for foreign tourists. But for this you need to do the same work as in the example with pilaf.

Unfortunately, our trip was very fleeting, so that you could notice something else. In general, consulting firms can help your specialists in tourism development, entrepreneurs who intend to develop CBT tourism in this area for foreigners.

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Opinion of Gulchekhra Isroilova

Within the framework of this trip we visited only one village. In general, there are many places in the Tashkent region and Uzbekistan that are more prepared to receive foreign visitors wishing to get acquainted with the traditional way of life of our people. For example, the Parkent district of the Tashkent region is famous for its viticulture and here there are conditions for guests to become more familiar with the peculiarities of local viticulture. Another example from the Surkhandarya region is the Boysun district. Its population is a faithful custodian of centuries-old traditions of carpet weaving, craftsmanship, folklore heritage. People live by this, they are open to communication. They are hospitable and, having become a guest in their guest houses, you can become a true witness of all these secular mysteries.

Uzbekistan has huge potential for the development of CBT tourism. And today within the framework of the European Union project "Strengthening rural and ecotourism through business associations for sustainable economic development in Central Asia" we try to make the most of it in the development of tourism. Now we are actively conducting seminars that will help the owners of guest houses and tour operators competently approach to the question of demonstrating traditions and customs.

For most foreign tourists, Uzbekistan is a Mecca for cultural tourism, a place with unusually beautiful and majestic monuments of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva. However, we know for sure that Uzbekistan is much more, much more interesting, and we all need to do our best to know about us from this side.

I think, in a short time, we will be able to more actively sell CBT-tours to foreign guests. In the future, these tours can be not only an independent proposal. They may well become a component of combined tours. Please, today get acquainted with our architectural and archeological monuments, and tomorrow - come in contact with our centuries-old traditions and customs.

Source: Uzbekistan Today

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