Natural assets

Hiking recently around Chartak in Uzbekistan’s Namangan Region, I was struck by the area’s natural beauty and literally got my second breadth. At 650 meters above sea level, this modest town in the Ferghana Valley enjoys evergreen alpine pastures and rocky panoramas, and is permeated by a constant supply of high-altitude fresh air and crystal-clear, mineral-rich waters.

Thanks to a well-established network of sanatorium and health resorts – a very common form of wellness/spa tourism that emerged during the Soviet period – 30,000 annual visitors to Chartak can today take full advantage of physiotherapy activities, medical diagnoses, preventive exercises, and other revitalizing wellness programs. And, the municipality of Chartak has a forward-looking “game plan”. By taking advantage of the town’s inherent natural assets and mountainous settings, it is moving towards more nature-oriented tourism and aims to become a wellness tourism hub. —