Tilya-Kori Madrasa in the Silk Road city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Yam G-Jun

As Uzbekistan celebrates more than 30 years of independence from the Soviet Union, new projects and openings let international travelers more easily explore the Central Asian country.

A high-speed train network opened in 2011 and is now being expanded to include the ancient Silk Road stop of Khiva, simplifying travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites from the capital city, Tashkent. And a new airport terminal in another Silk Road city, Samarkand, opened this year, designed to resemble an open book.

The Silk Road Samarkand complex, spread over 640 acres and incorporating Samarkand Rowing Canal, opens this fall. It includes the 22-story Samarkand Regency Amir Temur, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, and seven other hotels. This fall, Uzbekistan will host the first Silk Road Literary Festival. Later, look out for the Tadao Ando–helmed expansion of the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

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