Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a doubly landlocked country located in Central Asia. It is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic divided into 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and one independent city. Surrounded and bordered by five countries (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyztan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan), the country has been a part of the Turkic Khaganate and later the Timurid Empires, and was also incorporated to the Russian Empire. The country mainly relies on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, its government continues to maintain economic controls that deter foreign investment and imports in favour of domestic import substitution.
Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres. It is the 56th largest country in the world by land area, and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, it is the fifth largest by area and the third largest by population. Culturally, the country has a diversified heritage due to the number of conquerors that passed the country. The country's official language, Uzbek, is still the most widely spoken language by the whole population, while Karakalpak follows as one of the recognised regional language. 81% of the population constitute of Uzbeks, while minorities include Russians and other Asian denominations.
What to see & do
Registan – The Registan, or the Registan Square, was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand of the Timurid dynasty, now in Uzbekistan. The name 'Registan' means 'sandy place' or 'desert' in Persian. The Registan was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations and saw public executions. It is framed by three opulent madrasahs of distinctive Islamic architecture. Currently, it is open for tours. Other buildings in the area include the mausoleum of Shaybanids, and the Chorsu trading dome.
Ark – a royal town-within-a-town, the Ark is Bukhara's oldest structure, occupied from the 5th century right up until 1920 when it was bombed by the Red Army. It's about 80% ruins inside now, except for some remaining royal quarters which now house several museums. Some of the more popular areas at the ark include the vast
Reception and Coronation Court, the Juma Mosque, and the remains of the royal apartments.
Savitsky Museum – The Savitsky Museum houses one of the most remarkable art collections in the former Soviet Union. The museum owns some 90,000 artefacts and pieces of art – including more than 15,000 paintings – with only a fraction of which are actually on display. About half of the paintings were brought here in Soviet times by renegade artist and ethnographer Igor Savitsy, whose name is now etched in the museum's history.
Chorsu Bazaar – Tashkent's Chorsu Bazaar is the most famous farmers' market in the area. Everything is here: clothing, novelty items, spices, slaughtered livestocks, and fresh produce. Entire sheds are even dedicated to candy, dairy products, and souvenirs, even skull caps and chapan or traditional cloaks.
How to get around within Uzbekistan
Shared and private taxis, minibuses, normal buses, trains, the metro, and cars can all be utilized when travelling around Uzbekistan. Trains connect most cities to each other, while roads are paved enough for cars to pass through. Buses have two kinds, while taxi services are almost everywhere.
How to get there
The Tashkent International Airport is the main airport of Uzbekistan and the busiest airport in Central Asia. It is located some 12 kilometres from the city centre, and is serving Tashkent, the capital of the country. Airlines that travel to the destination include Aeroflot, Air Astana, Asiana Airlines, Czech Airlines, Korean Air, Kyrgyzstan Air Company, Uzbekistan Airways, and many others.
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