Iranian nomads from the northern grasslands were the first known people to have occupied a part of central Asia which is now known as Uzbekistan. Early in the sixteenth century the region was conquered by Uzbek nomads. These early settlers built a large irrigation system along the rivers. Most of the population today is of Uzbek origin. In 1924 it became part of the Russian empire. It was not until 1991, following the break up of the Soviet Union, that Uzbekistan was able to declare independence.
Uzbekistan is the 56th largest country in the world by area. The size is 172,700 sq miles or 447,000 square kilometers. The country is also the 42 largest in the world by population. The population is very young with a third of its 27345,026 inhabitants being under the age of 14 as of the year 2008.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan which are all landlocked countries border Uzbekistan. This makes it one of two double landlocked countries in the world. Most of the country is vast desert and mountains with only 10 % irrigated by river valleys and oasis.
The country’s economy relies on production of basic goods such as cotton, gold, uranium, potassium and natural gas. The country is developing its mineral and petroleum reserves and is the second largest exporter of cotton in the world.
The climate is known as continental therefore very little rain falls. The typical summer high temperature is 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical winter temperature is -23 Celsius or -9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although Russia was the language spoken in education, government and economic activity in Uzbekistan before it gained independence from Russia, Uzbeks diligently worked to eliminate Russian words that integrated into the Uzbek language. Russian is the language still spoken in certain circles such as scientific, business and government circles today.
Uzbekistan gave shelter to numerous merchant selling their wares, explorers looking for a better life and great thinkers that traversed the great trade route in the area known as the great Silk Road. Many historical centers abound in this area as well as cities that have survived the through the centuries, some are known as Samarkand, Tashkent and Bukhara.
One of the largest ancient cities in central Asia is Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Tashkent contains an oasis called Chach which was a crossroad along the way of exporting of good such as precious stones, gold, spices and horses. There are many ancient monuments, mosques and mausoleums to visit in this city.
Samarkand is filled with monuments that have impressive architectural style that borrowed elements from Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rim. 2500 years of history can be discovered in this city.
Another city to visit is Bukhara, which was a large commercial center on Silk Road. Many middle age monuments can be seen here numbering in the 140’s. These sights are attracting the attention of many modern day tourists.
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