About Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is the state in the Central Asia situated in the neighbourhood with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The area of Uzbekistan is 447 thous. sq. km., which is nearly equal to the area of Switzerland and Austria all together. The length of the borders of Uzbekistan is 6,621 km.

Uzbekistan is famous as a one of the Republics of the former USSR. Just so (Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic – UzSSR) for the first time this country started to be marked on the map of the world since 1924. 

 

The history of Uzbekistan

The modern territory of Uzbekistan was populated as far back as in epoch of the early Late Stone Age. Hereof indicate the findings of the working tools and archeological monuments in Samarkand, Bukhara, Surkhondaryo, Tashkent and Fergana. The first states there were Khorezm, Sogdiana and Bactria. Alexander the Great conquered Sogdiana and Bactria in 327 y. B.C., married Roxana, the daughter of the local Bactria ruler Aksiart. The resistance to the aggressors, led by Spitamen, was desperate and forced the troops of Alexander to stay in the region for 2 long years. For change of the Hellenic culture Kushans came, then Hephthalites and Turkic tribes.         

In VIII c. the Central Asia was captured by Arab caliphs. Since IX c. in Bukhara was reigned the dynasty of Samanids which was changed in XI c. by Karakhanids.  The most destructive for the towns of Uzbekistan there was a capture by the troops of Genghis Khan in XIII c. In XIV c. in Samarkand Amir Timur came to power (1336-1405). In his war campaigns he achieved the considerable success. He inflicted the defeat on the troops of Ottoman Sultan Bayazid I, like this saving the Europe from the Ottoman invasion. Timur built the capital of the Empire in Samarkand. Since XIX c. the Russian Empire started the conquest of the Central Asia. By the beginning of XX c. the Central Asia was in the hands of the Russia and, in spite of some resistance to the Bolsheviks at the beginning of the formation of the Soviet government, Uzbekistan and the other part of the Central Asia became the part of the Soviet Union. The declaration of the independence was adopted in August 31, 1991. The Independence Day is celebrated on September 1. The Constitution of Uzbekistan was adopted in December 8, 1992. The President of Uzbekistan is Mr. Karimov Islam Abduganievich.        

Politics

Political structure

Formation of the statehood

  • October 21, 1989 - it is adopted the Law on the state language of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • August 31, 1991 - Uzbekistan proclaimed state sovereignty
  • September 1, 1991 -  for the first time it was celebrated the Independence Day
  • November 18, 1991 - it was approved the State Flag of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • December 29, 1991 - the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan was elected
  • July 2, 1992 - it was approved the National Emblem of the Republic of Uzbekistan
  • December 8, 1992 - it was adopted the State Constitution
  • December 10, 1992 - it was approved the National Anthem
  • July 1, 1994 - it was introduced in practice the national currency - som

Constitutionally Uzbekistan is the rule-of-law democratic state. The head of the state is the President. The Supreme governmental representative body is Oliy Majlis (the Supreme Assemble). The Parliament of the Republic of Uzbekistan consists of 2 chambers: the Legislative Chamber (Lower chamber) and the Senate (Upper chamber) (according to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, chapter 18, article 76).

Political parties

  • November 1991 – Uzbekistan People's Democratic Party (PDPU) — the follower of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan. The primary aim is the direct participation in the consolidation and development of the Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan.  The deputy group includes 69 party members.  The central organs are the newspapers “Uzbekiston Ovozi” (daily), “Golos Uzbekistana” (“The voice of Uzbekistan”)(weekly), magazine “Mulokot” (monthly)
  • February 1995 - Justice Social Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (SDP) “Adolat” (“the Justice”). The primary aim is the construction of the fair civil society. The party group includes 47 deputies. The organ is the weekly newspaper «Adolat».
  • June 1995 - Uzbekistan National Revival Democratic Party “Milliy tiklanish”. The primary aim is the construction of the right-wing state relying on the nationwide interests. The organ is the weekly newspaper «Milliy tiklanish».
  • May 2000 – National Democratic Party «Fidoklar» (at the beginning of 2008 the political parties «Milliy tiklanish» and «Fidoklar» declared the merging in one party under the name  « Milliy tiklanish »)
  • 2003 - Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party (O'zlidep)
  • 2008 – Public Association «The Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan»

 According to the election results on December 26, 2004 PDPU, LDPU, “Fidoklar”, “Adolat” and ”Miliy tiklanish” entered the Parliament. On December 27, 2009 there were held the elections for the Lower Chamber of the Parliament; at the same time there were held the elections for the regional, district and town councils. 

Public holidays of Uzbekistan

On July 2, 1992 г. Oliy Majlis adopted the law on the holidays and announced as non-working the following days:

  • 1st of January  — New Year  
  • 8th of March — International Woman's Day
  • 21st of March — Navrooz
  • 9th of May — Day of Memory and Honour
  • 1st of September  — Independence Day
  • 1st of October — Teacher’s Day
  • 8th of December — Constitution Day
  • The first days of religious holiday Ruza Hayit and Qurbon Hayit .

                                          

         National Flag of Uzbekistan            National Emblem of Uzbekistan 

  • The National Anthem of Uzbekistan
  • The date of Independence – August 31, 1991 (from USSR)  
  • The official language – Uzbek
  • The capital - Tashkent  
  • The biggest towns: Tashkent, Samarkand, Andijan, Namangan, Bukhara, Kokand, Nukus
  • The form of government – Presidential Republic
  • The President – Karimov Islam
  • The Prime-Minister  - Mirziyaev Shavkat
  • The territory – 56th in the world
  • - total 447,400 km2
  •                172,742 sq mi 
  • - % of water surface 4,9

 The population

  • - estimate (2012) 29,559,100 (39th)
  • - density 65,8 /km2
  •                159.1/sq.m
  •  GDP
  • - total (2012) $ 47,906 billion
  • - per capita    $ 1,656
  • .
  • GDP (PPP)
  • - total              $ 100,731 billion
  • - per capita       $ 3,482
  •   HDI - The Human Development Index (2010) 0,617 (medium) 102nd
  •  The currency – som (UZS, code 860)  
  • The Internet TLD  .uz
  • The calling code   +998
  • The time zone   +5

Geography

In Uzbekistan there are very different geographical natural contrasts. It is composed of the monotonous drab deserts and lofty snow-covered mountains, the rivers abounding in water in the middle of the arid desert and the boundless lakes in the middle of the sands. The majority of the territory of Uzbekistan applies to Turan lowland. The country landscape can be conditionally divided into three parts: the mountains and foothills in the East and in the South-East, the semideserts and the deserts in the West, the flat lands in the South-West and in the North-West, within which it is singled out the rocky Ustyrt plateau, the alluvial flat of the Lower Amu Darya and Kyzyl Kum sands with the mountain elevations. The edge of the North-West Kyzyl Kum sands fringes the mountain ridge Bukantau, to the south of it there the closed depression Mynbulak at the bottom of which there is the lowest point of the Republic – 12 m. below sea level. The length: by longitude (from north to south) 925 km., by latitude (from west to east) 1,400 km.           

The extreme north point: in the northeast Ustyrt plateau, at the west chore of Aral sea - 45°36’ n.l. The extreme south point: Termez town -  37° 13′ n.l. The extreme west point: on Ustyrt plateau - 56° e.l. The extreme east point: in the southeast of Fergana valley - 73°10° e.l. The highest altitude above sea level: height 4,643 m (Hisor mountain range). 

Climate

The climate in Uzbekistan is acutely continental. The characteristic feature of the climate of Uzbekistan is aridity, abundance of warmth and sunlight, continentality, which manifested itself in interyearly and within-year variability of climatic elements. The north part of the territory applies to the temperate zone, and the extreme south applies to the subtropical zone. It is typical for Uzbekistan the high solstice during the year. In atmospheric circulation over the Central Asia take part the arctic, moderate and tropical air masses, their circulation occurs at specified synoptic positions. In the cold half-year (November-April) the closeness of the very warm tropical air, forming over the Plateau of Iran and of the cold air of temperate latitudes over the north part of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan is the reason for the big temperature contrasts and the development of the planetary high-altitude frontal zone.     

For Uzbekistan it is typical rather cold winter and hot long summer. The coldest month is January. One of the important climate factors, which take on the special significance in conditions of arid regions, is the air humidity. In the coldest north part of the flat land in winter the absolute humidity is 3-4 mb., and in the southernmost point of Uzbekistan (Termez, Sherabad) – 5-6 mb. The wind of the north horizon half prevail. In the cold season in the flat lands at the earth surface on an average mostly occur the winds of northeast direction related to the availability of the Siberian anticyclone spur.

The average annual rainfalls amount in the flat lands is 90-580 mm, in the mountain regions – 460-910 mm. The spring starts with the transition of the daily average temperature via 5° to its increase, what corresponds to the beginning of active plants vegetation. In the southernmost point (Termez) the beginning of the spring falls on the first decade of February, in Aral area – the first decade of April. The weather is extremely changeable; the warm and even hot days give place to the cold days, the frosts with the snowfalls occur.  

Administrative and territorial division

Administrative map of Uzbekistan changed frequently. The territory of Uzbekistan till 1917 was divided between Turkestan general-governorship (Turkestan Krai), Bukhara Emirate and Khiva Khanate. In 1924 there was created Uzbek SSR.

From 1924 until 1929 the Uzbek SSR included the Tajik ASSR.  In 1925 it was imposed the single administrative division. The Republic was divided into 7 regions. The capital of Uzbekistan at that time was Samarkand. In 1930 there were abolished the districts,  in the structure of the Uzbek SSR there were singled out 9 towns in independent administrative units,   73 districts, 1,696 village councils. Tashkent became the capital since 1930.

In 1936 the Karakalpak ASSR became a part of the Uzbek SSR. Later on the administrative-territorial system of the republic developed towards the increase and formation of the regions. Many townships were transformed into the towns and urban communities.  

At present the Republic of Uzbekistan consists of 12 regions (in Uzbek “viloyat”), 163 districts (in Uzbek “tuman”), 119 towns, auls and the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent.

  • Andijan region
  • Bukhara region
  • Jizzakh region
  • Kashkadarya region
  • Navoiy region
  • Namangan region
  • Samarkand region
  • Surkhandarya region
  • Sirdarya region
  • Tashkent region
  • Fergana region
  • Khorezm region
  • The Republic of Karakalpakstan

Economy of Uzbekistan

Advantages: Gold. In Uzbekistan annually it is extracted around 80 tons of the gold. On reserve of gold the Republic ranks the fourth place in the world, on its mining level it ranks the seventh place, on reserve of copper it ranks the tenth-eleventh place, on reserve of uranium- the eleventh-twelfth place, on uranium mining level – the seventh-eighth place (according to World Nuclear Association[8], European Nuclear Society[9] and British Geological Survey[10] Uzbekistan ranks the 12th place in the world on reserve of uranium and the 7th place on its mining. (see the article Uranium in the countries).

At the moment in the country it is explored about 40 uranium deposits the bases of which are 27 uranium deposits. According to the data of the information center of the State committee for geology and mineral resources of the Republic, the explored and estimated uranium deposits are 185,8 thous. tons. The Republic has no own atomic industry and exports all mined low-enriched uranium. In Uzbekistan it is created the powerful mineral raw materials source which is the one of the main items of the currency earnings to the economy of Uzbekistan. This source consists of more than 1,800 deposits and around 1,000 of the long-term shows of mineral resources, 118 kinds of mineral raw materials 65 of which are developing at the present. See also “Mineral resources of Uzbekistan”.

In Uzbekistan there is the developed cotton market. In 2009 there was the record grain crop (about 6,6 mln.tons). There are also considerable virgin oil and gas reserves. The current natural gas production makes the decisive contribution to the power generation. The experience in production of the farm machineries; in Uzbekistan there is the sole in the Central Asia aircraft manufacturing plant. In Asaka town there is a big plant “GM Uzbekistan” producing the cars under license of Daewoo and Chevrolet. Uzbekistan takes the position of political, regional, military and historical leader in the Central Asian region.

National company «Uzbekneftgas» ranks the 11th place in the world in natural gas production (annual gas - 60-70 billion m³). 194 deposits of hydrocarbons, including condensate and natural gas - 98, oil and gas, oil and gas condensate - 96. Geological reserves of oil – 5 billion tons, proved reserves of oil – 530 million of tons. Geological reserves of natural gas – more than 5 trillion m³, proved reserves of natural gas – 3,4 trillion m³. Oil production – 3,5 mln. tons annually. The largest corporations in the energy sector are CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), Petronas (Malaysia), KNOC (Korea), Gazprom, Lukoil, Uzbekneftgas.  Uzbekistan rinks the 6th place in the world on uranium mining level and the 4th place on reserve of uranium, which is estimated about 55 thous. tons. 

The most major creditors of the country:

    * ADB (Asian Development Bank)
    * Fund of reconstruction and development of Uzbekistan. It was set up in May 2006 by decree of the President of Uzbekistan. Its founders are the Ministry of Finance of Uzbekistan and 5 biggest commercial banks of the Republic – National bank for foreign economic activity of Uzbekistan (NBU), Asaka-bank, Uzpromstroybank, Pakhta-bank and Ipoteka-bank. At the present the authorized fund of the fund is 5 billion US Dollars (2010).

Weak points: the dependence on grains import, the domestic production meets only 25% demand. The insufficient reformation of economy. Considerable difficulties with the conversion of national currency. The biggest bank note (1,000 som) is appr. equal to US$ 0.54 (as of end of March 2012). Many scientists consider the irrigation system of cotton fields as environmentally harmful.   
The weight of the agriculture in GDP structure is considerable – 38%, 26% - the industry, 36% - the sphere of services. For 2010 in spite of crises GDP increased by 8,5%. By results of 2008 the country rinks the 3rd place in the world on export and the 6th place on the production of cotton.  

  • Output of industrial production in Uzbekistan for 2009 increased by 9,0%
  • The farm produce – by 5,7%
  • The volume of the construction works increased by 33,1%
  • The volume of paid services  - by 12,9 %
  • The retail turnover – by 16,6%
  • 44 %  of able-bodied population deal with agriculture
  • 20 % - with industry
  • 36 %  - with the sphere of services

The major agricultural products of Uzbekistan, besides cotton, are fruits, vegetables and grain (wheat, rice and maize).  

The main energy resources of the state are: gas (proved reserves upto 2 trillion m³, including the biggest deposits Shurtan – 0,5 trillion m³ and Alan – 0,2 trillion m³, Urga – upto 1,5 trillion m³), coal (Angren deposit with reserves upto 1,9 billion tons of brown coal), uranium ore (total upto 230 thous. tons of uranium, including the biggest Uchkuduk deposit) and water power (of Chirchik, Ahangaran (Angren), Surkhandarya rivers and several small rivers). See "Fuel and energy resources”.

External trade

Uzbekistan exports ($13 bilion 044,5 million in 2010) – cotton, gold, uranium ore, natural gas, mineral fertilizers, metals, textile and food industry products, cars.

Import ($8 billion 797,9 million in 2010) – industrial production, food, chemical production, metals.

Main foreign-trade partners: Russia – 21,0%, China – 9,7%, Switzerland – 7,9%, Ukraine – 7,2%, Kazakhstan – 6,2% and Republic of Korea – 5,8%.

International reserves of Uzbekistan grow by average 3 billion US dollars per year.


Trade surplus is 11% of GDP (appr. 4,2 billion US Dollars in 2010)

Population of Uzbekistan

As of January 1, 2012 the population of the country was 29,559,100  people, out of them 51 % — urban and 49 % — rural population. The average population density is 65,8 people per 1 sq.km. By the number of residents Uzbekistan ranks the 3rd place among the CIS countries after Russian Federation and Ukraine. But, as opposed to them, in Uzbekistan it is recorded the high birth rate and positive population growth. In 2011 the population growth was 435,7 thous. people or 1,5%. In Republic there are 120 towns and 115 town settlements; there altogether live 15,069,600 people or 51% of the total population.

National composition of the population of Uzbekistan (%)

  •     85 % Uzbeks
  •    5,0 % Russians
  •    4,5 % Tajiks
  •    2,5 % Kazakhs
  •    2,5 % Iranians
  •    2,0 % Karakalpaks
  •    1,0% Kyrgyzs
  •    2,1 % other nationalities
  •    1,1 % Tatars
  •    0,7 % Turkmens
  •    0,6 % Koreans
  •    0,1 % Jews
  •   0,05 % Karachai

Mahallah

Mahalla is the system of the popular self-government. Since 1998 in Uzbekistan started to revive the mahalla committees and mahalla councils, their function is connected with the control over the social protection and social welfare of the poorest strata of the population in each micro district separately. Mahalla committee helps residents of mahalla to organize the holidays’ celebrations, funerals and as required renders assistance to low-income and single old people.

Religion

According to the official information in Uzbekistan Muslims constitute 93% of the total population (more Sunnites of hanafi mazhab. The Shiits size in not more than 1%, they are concentrated in Bukhara and Samarkand regions). ) Orthodox Christians – 4% (their part reduces steadily because of the emigration of Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and other orthodox nations).  The remained 3% are the Roman Catholics, Korean Christianity, Disciples, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Evangelical Christianity and Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Bahais, Krishna worshippers and atheists.

According to the official information as of June 2010 in Uzbekistan there were registered 2,225 religious organizations, 16 different religious confessions:

* Islam – 2,050 (mosques, religious educational institutions, Islamic centers),

* Christianity – 175, including:
        * Korean Christianity - 52,
        * Orthodox Christians (ROCh) - 37,
        * Disciples  - 23,
        * Pentecostals (of full Gospel) - 21,
        * Seventh-Day Adventists - 10,
        * Roman Catholics - 5,
        * Lutherans - 2,
        * New Apostolic Christians - 4,
        * Armenian Apostolic Church - 2,
        * Church of the God’s voice  - 1,
        * Interconfessional bible society - 1,
        * Judaism - 8,
        * Bahaism - 6,
        * Krishnaits - 1,
        * Buddhism - 1.

It is observed, that the attendance of the mosques is high, especially among the youth which compose the majority of the congregation.

Out of Christian confessions in the territory of Uzbekistan officially operate:

    * Tashkent and Central Asian eparchy ROCh
    * Roman Catholic Church
    * Armenian Apostolic Church
    * Evangelical Lutheran Church
    * Union of churches of evangelic Christians-Baptists

    * The Churches centers of Christians of full Gospel

The assessments according to which in Uzbekistan there are up to 10 thousands of Bukharan Jews and Jews-Ashkenaz. Jews concentrated in towns: Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand. More than 80 thousand of Jews for the last 20 years emigrated to Israel and USA, what was caused by the economic motives.

The constitution of Uzbekistan declares the freedom of conscience for everybody.  According to the constitution everybody has the right to profess any religion or not to profess any. It is inadmissible the compulsory implanting of the religious convictions.

Culture in Uzbekistan


The culture and public relations in Uzbekistan have the centuries old history. It is worth to single out the State television and radio broadcasting company, FM-radio stations, government newspapers and Internet-resources as well out of the mass media.

In Uzbekistan the newspapers are published in Uzbek, Karakalpak (“Erkin Karakalpakstan”), Tajik (”Ovozi tojik”), Kazakh (“Nurly zhol”), Russian and other languages.


State language

The state language of the Republic of Uzbekistan is Uzbek. The Russian language is the language for interethnic communication.

Tourist interests

What to see in Uzbekistan? Uzbekistan as a country with multi-stratum thousand-year history offers tourists to visit many places of different themes related to culture, history and people. It is one of the most attendant countries of Central Asian region. The biggest tourist centers are: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Shahrisabz. Moreover, there are guided tours to Fergana valley, mountains of the West Tien Shan (Chimgan, Beldersay), Pamir spurs, Kyzyl Kum desert (jurt camps).       

There are some major places which represent more archeological character – ancient settlement Afrosiab (Samarkand), Varakhsha (Bukhara), Paykent (Bukhara), Sherabad (Termez), Kuva (Fergana), Minguryuk (Tashkent), Toprak-kala and other fortresses (Karakalpakstan). Under many of them there are museums.

In Uzbekistan there are more than 200 travel companies. Most of them offer the itineraries on the ancient towns of Uzbekistan. There are more tourists from Western Europe than from East Asia or Oriental countries.