Urgench is a city in Khorezm, in Uzbekistan. It is a relatively new city, founded under the Russian Empire in the 19th century.
An older city called Urgench was abandoned in the 18th century when a shift in a river course cut off its water supply. Before that it was an important Silk Road city and a provincial capital of the Persian Empire. Today it is just a small town, Konye Urgench, in neighbouring Turkmenistan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 1 [dead link] Urgench International Airport (UGC IATA). Uzbekistan Airways operates twice daily flights from Tashkent (operated by RJ-85, Airbus 320 and sometimes IL 114, flying time 1:30 hrs) and a flight on Saturday (operated by B-757, flying time 1:40 hrs, return flight on Sundays). Flights (as per May 2011) were about 275,000 sum for return ticket and about 139,000 sum (€ 43) for a single ticket. You can also reach Urgench on Fridays on Uzbekistan Airways via Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow.
The brand new 1 Urgench Train Station. has daily night trains to and from Tashkent that make the 19 hour journey across the desert with one major stop along the way in Samarkand. For departure times see the Uzbekistan#Get around section. Taxis from [Urgench] Railway Station to Khiva are about 30,000 to 80,000 UZS one way (September 2019). For the Trolley Bus see below.
If you're really budgeting, you can catch a bus to Urgench from the Hippodrome station in Tashkent. The good news is the journey doesn't take much longer than the train (20 hours) and is only about 20,000 sum. The bad news is you'll be sitting in a cramped space without toilets (the driver decides when to make a pit stop), minimal ventilation and no air conditioning.
There are daily buses from Bukhara to Urgench, leaving from Bukhara Avtovoksal. The buses have no air condition. The journey time is about 8 hours and the price about 15,000 UZS on way [Sep 2012]. There is no fixed timetable and buses leave when all seats are occupied.
Inter-city "taxi" services are essentially a collection of informal drivers who wait to fill up their cars with passengers and then drive them to their destinations. They usually charge per passenger; however, you can buy all the seats in a car (typically 1 in the front and 3 in the back) if you're willing to spend the cash. From Bukhara, the next closest Silk Road site, the 460km trip in a shared taxi should cost between 50,000-80,000 sum per person [Sep 2012]. The price can sometimes depend on the type of vehicle you're negotiating for, with Daewoo Ticos costing less and Daewoo Nexia and Matiz cost a bit more.
Eating out in Urgench can be a challenge. Waiters usually don't speak English and sometimes only Russian. The menus are mostly written in Cyrillic, and either in Russian or in Uzbek. (Nearby Khiva is more adapted to foreign tourists in this respect.) More informationon Urgench restaurants can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/theurgenchrestaurants/
Gavhar Milliy Taomlari, The restaurant with the best view of the park, the Shavat Canal and the city, if you can get a place on the terrace. The food is good but their choice of wines is surprisingly limited. The young waiters are not really familiar with the concept of a "dry" wine and you might be served unchilled white and cold red wine.
Mangal, A Korean restaurant. Again, most dishes are meat dishes. Urgench is not the ideal place for vegetarians.
Garage Burger Probably the best place for real hamburgers in this city. Hamburgers are often called burgers or just cheeze. Do not confuse them with the ubiquitous "gamburgers" which are pieces of doner kebab in a little pocket of bread, often served with a little bit of greens (cut up spring onions) and tomato sauce.
Urgench is not a place for wine drinkers. The standard wine is about 25,000 soms (May 2019), Not for the connoisseur but certainly drinkable. You are lucky if the white wine is chilled. Otherwise you could ask for ice. Don't be surprised if they serve you a chilled red wine.
Bavaria, A good place for beer drinkers. They brew three different kinds of draft beer. There is a large hall and a small balcony if you want to sit outside. This is probably the best place for the Western tourist to feel at home.
Leo, The Leo pub has the widest range of beers. Some are on tap but a huge fridge full of different brands.
New York With a wall full of old American (not just New York) photographs and TV screens presenting American concerts (country, blues and more) it tries to create a New York atmosphere. A nice change from the often somewhat baroque interiors of other restaurants.
- Khorezm Palace Hotel, 2, Al Beruni Street, ☏ +998 62 224 99 99. Four star hotel in the city centre with 100 rooms, restaurant, lobby bar, sauna, jacuzzi and swimming pool.
- Khiva - the historical city with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Itchan Kala
- Konye Urgench (Old Urgench) - the original city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, abandoned in the 17th century after a river shifted course and left it without water