- The official name of Uzbekistan is Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi (Uzbekistan Respubliksai), translated as the Republic of Uzbekistan.
- Geography. Uzbekistan is bordered by Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea to the north; Tajikistan to the southeast; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
- Aral Sea. This sea used to be the fourth largest inland sea on Earth. In the 1960s the Soviets pursued extensive cotton production in the country, which requires large amounts of water to grow. Since that time the sea has shrunk to less than 50% of its former area and decreased in volume threefold.
- History. Iranian nomads settled in the area in the first millennium BCE. The area began to become centers of trade between the West and China and eventually the Silk Road brought wealth. For many years the Uzbekistan area was ruled by the Persians. The Mongol-Turkic people conqured the region under Genghis Khan in the 13th century.
- Mineral Resources. Mining 80 tons of gold a year, Uzbekistan has the 4th largest gold deposits in the world. It's copper deposits rank 10th in the world, uranium deposits 12th, natural gas 11th, and it has large amounts of untapped reserves of oil and gas.
- Religion. Muslims make up 90-96% of the population in Uzbekistan, followed by 5% who are Russian Orthodox. Many versions of Islam are practiced in the country - 54% are non-denominational Muslims, 18% are Sunnis and 1% are Shias. The Jewish community flourished for centuries in Uzbekistan, however most have now immigrated to Israel or the USA.
- Language. The official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek. The Tajik language is commonly spoken in Bukhara and Samarkand. Russian is the language used for inter-ethnic communication, technical, science, government, and business.
- Tashkent. Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. It has a three-line rapid transit system built in 1977, and expanded in 2001. It has the reputation of being one of the cleanest systems in the former Soviet Union. The stations are unique and ornate.
- Music. The traditional music of Uzbekistan is called Shashmaqam. The name translates as six maqams, meaning that the music contains 6 sections, in 6 different modes, interrupted by Sufi poetry .
- Etymology. One theory of the origin of the name Uzbek is that it was named after Oghuz Khagan (also called Oghuz Beg). Another theory is that it is from the Turkic word "Oʻz" (meaning self) combined with the Turkic title Bek/Bey/Beg. A last theory is that "Uz" comes from one of the Oghuz Turks (known as Uz or Uguz) combined with "Bey" or "Bek" to form uguz-bey, meaning "leader of an oguz".
- Samarkand. This "crossroads of world cultures" is located in a large oasis in Northeastern Uzbekistan. There is evidence of settlements as far back as 1500 BCE. In the 14-15 century it was the capital of the Temurid realm. In the northeast of the city is the ancient city of Afrosiab, founded in the 7th century BCE. To the south, there is medieval city of the Temurid.
- Food. Uzbek cuisine is influenced by the crops that are grown locally. There is a great deal of grain farming in Uzbekistan, so breads and noodles are common. Mutton is a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country. The seasons influence the menus. In the summer fruits (grapes, melons, apricots, pears, apples, cherries, pomegranates, lemons, figs, dates), vegetables (green redishes, yellow carrots, pumpkins, squash, eggplants, peppers, turnips, cucumbers and tomatoes), and nuts are used. The winter diet traditionally consists of dried fruits and vegetables, preserves, noodle or pasta dishes.
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