Northern Uzbekistan comprises nearly one half of Uzbekistan, dominated by the barren Kyzylkum Desert and the enormous semi-autonomous Republic of Qaraqalpaqstan.
- 1 Khiva — historic Silk Road city, home to UNESCO World Heritage site Itchan Kala.
- 2 Moynoq — depressed former fishing town, now miles away from the receding Aral Sea.
- 3 Nukus — the capital of Qaraqalpaqstan is the region's only large city, and is the unexpected home of the second largest painting collection of the Russian avant-garde in the world.
- 4 Urgench — a big, drab Soviet sort of city, gateway to Khiva.
- Zarafshan — a city truly in the middle of nowhere, Uzbekistan's Gold Capital, home to the Navoi Mining & Metallurgy Combinat.
The language of Qaraqalpaqstan is called Qaraqalpaq. It is it more similar to Kazakh than to Uzbek. Uzbeks can hardly understand it. In this remote region people rarely talk in Russian—Uzbek is more handy.