Chor-Chinor Garden, Urgut

One of the most mysterious and unusual places in Uzbekistan is Chor-Chinor Garden in Samarkand Region. The garden site lies half-hidden near the town of Urgut on the road to Termez, a 40-kilometer drive from Samarkand city. “Chor Chinor”, meaning “Four Plane Trees” in Tajik and Farsi, is an apt name for this park distinguished by its centuries-old trees.

Walking through the garden gate, you will enter a serene atmosphere of towering trees lining quiet, shady pathways nestled in the Zarafshan Mountains near Samarkand. The youngest trees in Chor-Chinor Garden are roughly 600 years old, and the oldest more than 1100 years. The larger trees reach 16 meters in circumference and tower up to 35 meters high. Many of the garden’s nearly 50 trees are accompanied by placards indicating their approximate age, while their secrets and stories from the past remain unspoken.

The highlight of the park is its miracle of nature, a huge hollowed-out plane tree which houses a small museum. The tree trunk, which formerly served as a gathering place for students of Sufism, can accommodate up to forty people at once, as evidenced by old photographs.

For many, Chor-Chinor is far more than a garden: it is a place for meditation, relaxation and physical and spiritual healing. Revered as a holy place, Chor-Chinor shelters a small, blue-domed mosque dating from the early 20th century, a memorial pavilion and several tombs, all of which draw thousands of pilgrims from across the country to pray and seek blessing.

Legend has it that when the first trees were planted at Chor-Chinor, a spring with clean, cool water gushed forth from a large rock resembling a millstone. People still consider this spring to hold sacred healing powers, and many pilgrims will fill up empty bottles of spring water to take back to family and loved ones. This spring has expanded to a picturesque pond and small brook where locals and tourists alike come to withdraw into solitude as they drink the fresh water from its very source.

Chor-Chinor Garden in Samarkand Region is an underrated destination, the perfect outing for tourists eager to step away from bustling historical sites to experience Uzbekistan’s natural beauty in a peaceful environ.