Official Name: Republic of Uzbekistan
Established: 840 (Kara-Khanid Khanate) / 31 August 1991 (Independence from USSR)
Population: 36 million (2022 estimate)
Religion: Muslim (96.1%)
Official Languages: Uzbek & Russian
Order of Visit: 76
Planned First Visit: 21 May 2023
Planned Last Visit: 29 May 2023
Duration: 9 Days
Must Do: To be discovered!
Cities to be visited: Tashkent, Samarkand, Aydar Kŭl Camp, Bukhara, Khiva
Location and Geography
Uzbekistanis a landlocked country in Central Asia and is bordered by other landlocked countries in Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Uzbekistan has an area of 448,978 square kilometres. It is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 40th by population.
History and Culture
The first recorded settlers in what is now Uzbekistan were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms around 8th–6th centuries BC. The area was then incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Macedonian rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century.
After the Muslim conquest, cities such as Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara began to grow rich from the Silk Road, and became a centre of the Islamic Golden Age, with figures such as Muhammad al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi, al Khwarizmi, al-Biruni, Avicenna, and Omar Khayyam.
The Mongol invasion in the 13th century, destroyed the local leadership which lead to a dominance by Turkic peoples of the area.
All of Central Asia was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political centre of Russian Turkestan. In 1924, national delimitation created the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic as a republic of the Soviet Union. Shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991.
Uzbekistan is a secular state, with a presidential constitutional government in place. The Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy. 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 from the Soviet era and an ample supply of natural gas, Uzbekistan has become the largest electricity producer in Central Asia.
Uzbekistan is a member of the United Nations (UN) (since 2 March 1992), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), Partnership for Peace (PfP), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It belongs to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
What has dawn me to explore Uzbekistan?
To explore the beautiful blue mosques and carved minarets/towers, the Soviet-style buildings, and ancient towns stuck in a different time. To see the many different and beautiful crafts mosaics, floral ceramics, and geometric tiles. To see some of the Silk Road history and how the USSR influenced the region.
This visit is part of the Five Stans of Silk Road G Adventures tour that will see me visiting; Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan.