Country Overview : Uzbekistan is bordered
by Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan. The south and east are dominated by the Tien-Shan and
Pamir-Alai mountain ranges and the Kyzyl Kum Desert lies to the
northeast. The capital, Tashkent, lies in the valley of the River
Chirchik. A massive earthquake in 1966 flattened much of the old city.
The new buildings are of little architectural interest. Samarkand,
founded over 5000 years ago, flourished until the 16th century. The
centre of the historical town is the Registan Square, where three huge
Islamic seminaries - including Shir-Dor and Tillya-Kari - built
between the 15th and 17th centuries dominate the area. Bukhara lies
west of Samarkand and was once a centre of learning renowned
throughout the Islamic world. There are more than 350 mosques and 100
religious colleges. The centre of historical Bukhara is the Shakristan,
which contains the Ark, or palace complex of the Emirs. Plov is the
staple food and consists of chunks of mutton, shredded yellow turnip
and rice fried in a large wok. Tashkent has a variety of theatres
which show everything from European operas to traditional Uzbek
dancing and music.
447,400 sq km (172,740 sq miles).
Population Density :
56 per sq km.
Uzbekistan is bordered by Afghanistan to the
south, Turkmenistan to the west, Kazakhstan to the north,
Kyrgyzstan to the northeast and Tajikistan to the east and has a
colourful and varied countryside. The south and east are dominated by
the Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alai mountain ranges and the Kyzyl Kum Desert
lies to the northeast. The northwestern autonomous region of
Karakalpakstan is bordered by the Aral Sea and the sparsely populated
Ustyurt Plateau with its vast cotton fields.
Republic. Declared independence from
the Soviet Union in 1991. Head of State: President Islam
Karimov since 1991. Head of Government: Prime Minister Otkir
Sultanov since 1995.
The official language is Uzbek, a Turkic tongue
closely related to Kazakh and Kyrgyz. There is a small
Russian-speaking minority. Many people involved with tourism
speak English. The Government has stated its intention to change the
Cyrillic script to the Latin.
Predominantly Sunni Muslim, with
Shia (15 per cent), Russian Orthodox and Jewish minorities.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are
Country code: 998. Area
code for Tashkent: 71. IDD is available, but calls from hotel
rooms still need to be booked either from reception or from the
floor attendant. International calls can also be made from main post
offices (in Tashkent on Prospekt Navoi). Direct-dial calls within the
CIS are obtained by dialling 8 and waiting for another dial tone and
then dialling the city code. Calls within the city limits are free of
Mobile telephone :
GSM 900 network.
Operators include Butzel (website :
Coscom (website :
Daewoo, Unitel, Uzdunrobita (website :
and Uzmacom (website :
is limited to certain areas around Tashkent.
Services are available
from major hotels for residents only.
ISPs include Eastlink (website:
Internet cafes exist in Tashkent.
Services are available from post offices in
Letters to Western Europe and the USA can take between 2 weeks and 2
months. Stamped envelopes can be bought from post offices. Addresses
should be laid out in the following order: country, postcode, city,
street, house number and lastly the personís name. Post office hours:
Mon-Fri 0900-1800. The Main Post Office in Tashkent (see above) is
open until 1900. Visitors can also use the post offices situated in
the major hotels. There are a number of international courier services
based in Tashkent.
There are no independent daily newspapers in Uzbekistan. The main
editions are published in Tashkent and include Molodiozh Uzbekistana
and Pravda Vostoka (both published in Russian); and Khalk suzi and
Narodnoye Slovo (in Russian and Uzbek).
BBC World Service (website:
and Voice of America (website :
can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most
up-to-date can be found online.