I find Uzbekistan represents the heart of Central Asia, despite Tashkent airport’s unruly first impressions. Sensory pleasures evoked by 2,500 years of history here are compelling, from the tiger mosaics on the imposing Registan in Samarkand and the legendary love that inspired the Ark Fortress to the carpet shopper’s dream that is Bukhara and the dramatic mountain peaks promising adventure for trekkers. What links all of these memories for me is the sense of Uzbek culture that pervades.