44 Interesting Facts About Uzbekistan

Last updated on November 16th, 2017

The arts

#27. The Uzbek people are well-known for the culture’s music. Koshuk are household songs while Lapar are dialogue ones, a give and take between two singers. Many of these are wedding songs. National and professional poems are used as texts for the songs.

#28. The Uzbek traditional dances are distinguished by a soft smoothness and expressiveness of movement, either in place or in a circle.

#29. Applied arts include painted pottery influenced by the many cultures that have lived in the country and luscious, colorful, ornamental embroidery. A fine embroidery with threads made of gold is still practiced in the province of Bukhara.

A needlework artist doing her job in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
A needlework artist doing her job in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Image credit – David Stanley

Sports

#30. Soccer and tennis are the country’s most popular sports. Cycling, boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics are also highly regarded. Uzbekistan athletes have done well in the Olympics in these sports. Kurash is their native martial art form.

Tourism

#31. The Ugam-Chatkal National Park is the natural habitat of 44 mammal species, 230 bird species and 1168 species of plants, including bears, wolves, red marmots, lynx, snow leopards and wild rams. Travel permits are required for parts of the park near the borders with other countries.

#32. The Jeyran Ecological Center is rescuing and restoring this endangered species. The Kitab State Geological Reserve and Kyzylkum Tugai and Sand Reserve explore the natural geography. Watch for wild boar, deer, wild ducks, sandpipers, and reed cats.

#33. The Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biospheric Reserve will soon be included in the UNESCO global list of such reserves.

#34. Uzbekistan features three health and recreation complexes for relaxation: Chimgan, Charvak and Beldersay. Visas are required for all tourists apart from passport holders of CIS countries (The Commonwealth of Independent States.)

#35. Other activities tourists can enjoy in the country include camel trekking, hiking, bird watching, rafting, and skiing.

Random, fun and unusual facts about Uzbekistan

#36. Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country: that is, a landlocked country surrounded by landlocked countries. Additionally, none of its rivers ever lead to the sea.

#37. The Tashkent region, including the capital city of Tashkent, is the economic and political center of the nation. Here you will find the international airport, bus service, and Tashkent’s beautiful metro system.

#38. Metro Tashkent’s three stations feature marble ceilings and pillars, engraved metal, and beautiful chandeliers. Not only does it have some of the most beautiful stations in the world, this metro is the biggest system in Central Asia.

#39. The Aral Sea was once the Earth’s fourth largest inland sea. After the Soviets depleted its water supply to irrigate the cotton fields in the 1960s and extensively used chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it has shrunk to half its former area and decreased by threefold in volume.

Map of Uzbekistan

#40. Now there is a shortage of water in Uzbekistan, with underground water and reservoirs serving the needs for plant irrigation. Certain rivers are now half dry. The drying of the Aral Sea has ravaged the surrounding land with disease and agricultural devastation.

#41. An island in the Aral Sea named Vozrozhdeniye was a secret biological weapons test site for the Soviets during their era. In 1988, the Soviets buried evidence on the island, which today is contaminated with live anthrax and other deadly poisons.

#42. The country mines 160 million ounces of gold annually and has the fourth largest deposits of gold in the world. Its Muruntau gold mine is the largest open pit gold mine in the world, located on a site where turquoise was previously mined from ancient times.

#43. Be aware that laws are strictly enforced in Uzbekistan, punishments are severe, and it is not wise to get snarky with the police. It is illegal to gamble, possess and use drugs, and use tobacco and alcohol if you are under 20. Homosexuality is illegal in this country.

#44. Be aware some photography upsets the authorities. Don’t photograph government or public buildings and transportation hubs. When in doubt, ask.

With ancient cities that have stood for centuries along old Spice routes and beautiful tiled architecture, friendly people and delicious foods, Uzbekistan is a feast for the senses.

Uzbekistan – country at a glance

Independence1 September 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Capital CityTashkent
Largest cityTashkent
Total area447,400 sq km
Population29,748,859 (July 2017 est.)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
ContinentAsia
National anthem"O'zbekiston Respublikasining Davlat Madhiyasi" (National Anthem of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
DemonymUzbek
National holidayIndependence Day, 1 September (1991)
National symbolkhumo (mythical bird)
National colorsblue, white, red, green
Official LanguagesUzbek
Government typepresidential republic; highly authoritarian
PresidentShavkat Mirziyoyev
Prime MinisterAbdulla Oripov
BordersKazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
CurrencyUzbekistan som (UZS)
ReligionIslam and Christianity
Life expectancy73.8 Years (2016)
Industriestextiles, food processing, machine building, metallurgy, mining, hydrocarbon extraction, chemicals
Exports$12.57 billion (2016 est.)
energy products, cotton, gold, mineral fertilizers, ferrous and nonferrous metals, textiles, foodstuffs, machinery, automobiles
Imports$12.11 billion (2016 est.)
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, ferrous and nonferrous metals
GDP - per capita (PPP)$6,500 (2016 est.)
Climatemostly mid-latitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in east
Terrainmostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Syr Darya (Sirdaryo), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west
Natural resourcesnatural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum
Agricultural land62.6%
Birth rate16.8 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Time ZoneUZT (UTC+5)
Internet country code.uz
Calling Code+998
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedSeptember 7, 2017