Theme Week Uzbekistan

Monday, 20 April 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  9 minutes

Old City of Bukhara at sunset © flickr.com - Adam Jones/cc-by-sa-2.0

Old City of Bukhara at sunset © flickr.com – Adam Jones/cc-by-sa-2.0

Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia. It is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of only two doubly landlocked countries. As a sovereign state, Uzbekistan is a secular, unitary constitutional republic. It comprises 12 provinces and one autonomous republic. The capital and largest city of Uzbekistan is Tashkent. The Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution. In September 2017, the country’s currency became fully convertible at market rates. Uzbekistan is a major producer and exporter of cotton. With the gigantic power-generation facilities of the Soviet era and an ample supply of natural gas, Uzbekistan has become the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Renewable energy constitutes more than 23% of the country’s energy sector, with hydroelectricity and solar energy having 21.4% and 2% respectively. As of late 2018, the republic was given a BB- rating by both Standard and Poor (S&P) and Fitch. Strengths indicated by Brookings Institution include Uzbekistan having large liquid assets, high economic growth, and low public debt. Among the constraints holding the republic back are low GDP per capita, something the government could influence by changing how it accounts for sectors of the economy not currently included.

Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres (172,700 sq mi). It is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS countries, it is the 4th largest by area and the 2nd largest by population. It stretches 1,425 kilometres (885 mi) from west to east and 930 kilometres (580 mi) from north to south. Bordering Kazakhstan and the Aralkum Desert (former Aral Sea) to the north and northwest, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, and Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan also shares a short border (less than 150 km or 93 mi) with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country. It is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries), the other being Liechtenstein. In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, none of its rivers lead to the sea. Less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases, and formerly in the Aral sea, which has largely desiccated. The rest is vast desert (Kyzyl Kum) and mountains. The highest point in Uzbekistan is the Khazret Sultan, at 4,643 metres (15,233 ft) above sea level, in the southern part of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, on the border with Tajikistan, just northwest of Dushanbe (formerly called Peak of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party).

Bread Vendor in Tashkent © Francisco Anzola/cc-by-3.0 Comparison of the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014 © NASA Devonaboy Jome Mosque in Andijan © Carpodacus/cc-by-sa-4.0 Khonakhan Mosque in Margilan © flickr.com - upyernoz/cc-by-2.0 Khudayar Khan Palace in Kokand © Bobyrr/cc-by-sa-4.0 Old City of Bukhara at sunset © flickr.com - Adam Jones/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Old City of Bukhara at sunset © flickr.com - Adam Jones/cc-by-sa-2.0
Uzbekistan has a wide mix of ethnic groups and cultures, with the Uzbek being the majority group. In 1995 about 71% of Uzbekistan’s population was Uzbek. The chief minority groups were Russians (8%), Tajiks (3–4.7%), Kazakhs (4%), Tatars (2.5%) and Karakalpaks (2%). It is said, however, that the number of non-Uzbek people living in Uzbekistan is decreasing as Russians and other minority groups slowly leave and Uzbeks return from other parts of the former Soviet Union (Culture of Uzbekistan). When Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, there was concern that Muslim fundamentalism would spread across the region. The expectation was that a country long denied freedom of religious practice would undergo a very rapid increase in the expression of its dominant faith. As of 1994, over half of Uzbekistan’s population was said to be Muslim, though in an official survey few of that number had any real knowledge of the religion or knew how to practice it. However, Islamic observance is increasing in the region.

Central Asian classical music is called Shashmaqam, which arose in Bukhara in the late 16th century when that city was a regional capital. Shashmaqam is closely related to Azerbaijani Mugam and Uyghur muqam. The name, which translates as six maqams refers to the structure of the music, which contains six sections in six different Musical modes, similar to classical Persian traditional music. Interludes of spoken Sufi poetry interrupt the music, typically beginning at a lower register and gradually ascending to a climax before calming back down to the beginning tone (Music of Uzbekistan).

Uzbek cuisine is influenced by local agriculture, as in most nations. There is a great deal of grain farming in Uzbekistan, so breads and noodles are of importance and Uzbek cuisine has been characterised as “noodle-rich”. Mutton is a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country and it is part of various Uzbek dishes. Uzbekistan’s signature dish is palov (plov or osh), a main course typically made with rice, pieces of meat, and grated carrots and onions. Oshi nahor, or morning plov, is served in the early morning (between 6 am and 9 am) to large gatherings of guests, typically as part of an ongoing wedding celebration. Other notable national dishes include shurpa (shurva or shorva), a soup made of large pieces of fatty meat (usually mutton), and fresh vegetables; norin and laghman, noodle-based dishes that may be served as a soup or a main course; manti, chuchvara, and somsa, stuffed pockets of dough served as an appetiser or a main course; dimlama, a meat and vegetable stew; and various kebabs, usually served as a main course. Green tea is the national hot beverage consumed throughout the day; teahouses (chaikhanas) are of cultural importance. Black tea is preferred in Tashkent, but both green and black teas are consumed daily, without milk or sugar. Tea always accompanies a meal, but it is also a drink of hospitality that is automatically offered: green or black to every guest. Ayran, a chilled yogurt drink, is popular in summer, but does not replace hot tea. The use of alcohol is less widespread than in the West, but wine is comparatively popular for a Muslim nation as Uzbekistan is largely secular. Uzbekistan has 14 wineries, the oldest and most famous being the Khovrenko Winery in Samarkand (established in 1927). The Samarkand Winery produces a range of dessert wines from local grape varieties: Gulyakandoz, Shirin, Aleatiko, and Kabernet likernoe (literally Cabernet dessert wine in Russian). Uzbek wines have received international awards and are exported to Russia and other countries (Uzbek cuisine, List of Uzbek dishes, Soviet cuisine).

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Read more on Uzbekistan Tourism, LonelyPlanet.com – Uzbekistan, Tourism in Uzbekistan, Uzbek cuisine, Culture of Uzbekistan, Architecture of Uzbekistan, History of Uzbekistan, List of World Heritage Sites in Uzbekistan, a href=”https://wikitravel.org/en/Uzbekistan” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Wikitravel Uzbekistan, Wikivoyage Uzbekistan and Wikipedia Uzbekistan. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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