Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia, with a total area of 447 400 square kilometers. It is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population (32 768 725, 2019 estimate). Among the CIS countries, it is the 4th largest by area and the 2nd largest by population.
Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north (2330 km), Kyrgyzstan to the northeast (1314 km), Tajikistan to the southeast (1312 km), Afghanistan to the south (144 km), and Turkmenistan to the southwest (1793 km).
The Republic of Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, after being part of the former Soviet Union since 1924, and it has begun its transition to a market economy. Uzbekistan is a presidential republic, and conducts presidential and parliamentary elections on a regular basis.
Uzbekistan is divided into twelve provinces (Andijan, Bukhara, Djizzak, Fergana, Kashkadarya, Khorezm, Namangan, Navoi, Samarkand, Surkhandarya, Syrdarya, Tashkent), one autonomous republic (Republic of Karakalpakistan), and one independent city (Capital city Tashkent).
The national flag was approved by the Extraordinary 8th Session of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan on November 18, 1991.
The flag of the country is a symbol of the sovereignty of the Republic. The national flag of the Republic represents the country internationally when official delegations from Uzbekistan visit foreign countries, as well as at conferences, world exhibition, and sports competitions.
The national flag of the Republic of Uzbekistan is a right-angled colored cloth of three horizontal stripes: blue, white and green. Blue is the symbol of the sky and water, which are the main source of life. Mainly blue was the color of the state flag of Temur. White is the traditional symbol of peace, moral and spiritual purity, and good luck, as Uzbek people say «Ok yul». Green is the color of nature and new life and good harvest. Two thin red stripes symbolize the power of life.
There is a new moon, which symbolizes the newly independent Republic.
There are twelve stars, which stand for spiritual sign. The stars also signify the historical traditions of the Uzbek people, as well as ancient solar calendar. A particular attention to twelve stars in the flag is explained yet by another suggestion, that in the states previously existed in the territory of modern Uzbekistan the scientific thought as «Astrology» had seen its rise. The stars in the Uzbek flag also point to the ancient roots of local culture, the aspirations of Uzbek people towards perfection and loyalty.
The state emblem of the Republic of Uzbekistan was approved by the 10th Session of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan on July 2, 1992.
The new state emblem of the Republic of Uzbekistan was created to reflect the many centuries of experience of the Uzbek people.
The state emblem of the Republic presents the image of the rising sun over a flourishing valley. Two rivers run through the valley, representing the Syrdarya and Amudarya. The emblem is bordered by wheat on the right side and branches of cotton with opened cotton bolls on the left side.
The eight-angle star is at the top of the emblem, symbolizing the unity and confirmation of the republic. The crescent and star inside theeight-pointed star are the sacred symbols of Islam. The mythical bird Semurg with outstretched wings is placed in the center of the emblem as the symbol of the national Renaissance.
The entire composition aims to express to desire of the Uzbek people for peace, happiness and prosperity. At the bottom of the emblem inscribed the word «Uzbekistan» written in Uzbek on a ribbon in the national colors of the flag.
National Currency of Uzbekistan is sum (also som, soum). The ISO 4217 currency code is UZS. One Uzbek sum is one hundred tiyin. The first banknotes were issued by the State Bank of Uzbekistan in 1993. All of the denominations share the same designs: the Coat of arms of Uzbekistan on the front and the Medressa on Registan Square in Samarkand. The second and current series, issued by the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzberkistan, were released in 1994 in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 som. A 200 som banknote was issued in 1997, the 500 som in 1999, the 1000 som in 2001, the 5000 som in 2013, 10000 som and 50000 som in 2017, and the 100000 banknote was issued in 2019.
Foreign Currency Exchange
There is no currency black market in Uzbekistan anymore. You can exchange US dollars, euros, British pounds and Japanese yen for Uzbek so’ms in official exchange offices at national banks, installed in airports, hotels, markets, shopping centers and other public places of the country. There are also exchange mashines in banks and in some tourist places of the cities.
ATM in Uzbekistan
There are plenty of ATMs in major cities of Uzbekistan. ATMs are installed in airports, hotels, markets, shopping centers and near historical and tourist attraction places. Pay attention all ATMs provide you only national currency. You may also go to the nearest bank that serve the card you have, and withdraw US dollars at the counter.
All banks in Uzbekistan serve Visa Cards. Master Cards are being served only in Asaka bank, Orient Finance bank and Ipak Yuli Bank for now.
Not all shops and restaurants accept credit cards. It is recommended to withdraw sufficient cash for your expenses.
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Traveling to Uzbekistan is possible at any time of the year. The best time to travel to Uzbekistan is from March to June and from August to November. Uzbekistan's climate is classified as continental, with hot summers and cool winters. Summer temperatures often surpass 40 °C (104 °F); winter temperatures average about −2 °C (28 °F), but may fall as low as −40 °C (−40 °F). Most of the country also is quite arid, with average annual rainfall amounting to between 100 and 200 millimeters (3.9 and 7.9 in) and occurring mostly in winter and spring. Between July and September, little precipitation falls, essentially stopping the growth of vegetation during that period of time.
What to wear
There is no required dress code for travelers in Uzbekistan. If you travel in spring or autumn, you will be more comfortable in warm coats, windbreakers and sweaters. If you plan to travel to Uzbekistan during the winter, make sure to pack the winter essentials: warm, waterproof, fleece-lined boots big enough to wear with heavy wool socks, hat, waterproof gloves and thermal long underwear.
During the summer hat, sunglasses, light shoes, sun blocks and light colored cotton clothes are recommended. Shoes should be comfortable and provide support for walking on dry and sandy ground.
Before entering some religious buildings, you will have to take off your shoes. Women may need to cover their heads with a scarf.
The basic ingredients of Uzbek dishes are flour, meat (beef or mutton), vegetables, herbs and spices. Uzbek dishes are rich in calories, due to a considerable amount of oil. Cottonseed oil and sunflower oil are most used. Fat is often used in many different dishes, but pork is never used in Uzbek cuisine. Some of the Uzbek dishes are cooked only by men. Some special dishes are prepared only in festivals, holidays and special events.
Main Dish of Uzbekistan is Plov (pilaf, palov, osh). Herbs and spices, such as coriander, zira (kumin), barberries, sesame, basil (raihon) are most popular in Uzbek cuisine.
Cost of living
Living in Uzbekistan is not expensive compared to many places in the World. Tashkent took the 58th place in the ranking of the best cities in the world to live, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the authoritative British journal The Economist.
Average cost of accommodation
Hostels - 10-15 USD per night for a bed in dormitory room, including breakfast
Budget hotels - 35-40 USD per night for single room, including breakfast and 50-60 USD per night for twin/double room, including breakfast
Luxury and boutique hotels - 90-140 USD per night for single room, including breakfast and 120-200 USD per night for twin/double room, including breakfast
Average cost of food and drink
Coffee/Tea - 0,5-2 USD
Domestic beer (0,5 l) - 0,5-1 USD
Bottled water (0,5 l) - 0,25-0,5 USD
Lunch (two course and salad) - 4-20 USD
Dinner (two courses, salad and dessert) - 6-25 USD
Photographing and videoing
Please note that there is a fee for using professional cameras in most sightseeing places (1-3 USD).
It was illegal to take pictures inside the metro system or any of the stations until 31 May 2018 because they were considered military installations due to the system's secondary role as a nuclear bomb shelter. The government under the newly elected Shavkat Mirziyoyev ruled that from 1 June 2018, taking photos is allowed inside the metro.
Telephone codes in Uzbekistan
At present, Uzbekistan has five operators of mobile communications:
Most of the population of the country has access to mobile communications. Operators Beeline, UCell provide data services standard 3G, and from December 2014 UCell provides services to 4G.
Mobile phone codes
As of September 2019, all importers and manufacturers of mobile phone devices (including those imported for personal use) must register them by their internal IMEI numbers in the special database. This applies to all SIM-enabled tablets, smartphones, mobile / functional phones, portable devices (including PDAs), adapters, WLAN routers, IoT devices, vehicles, e-books, communication modules, computers, modems and wearable devices.
All non-resident individuals using the SIM card of a local mobile operator for more than 30 calendar days need to register their device for free to avoid being blocked. Non-residents are given permission to use mobile services for 30 calendar days from the moment of the first network registration. If a non-resident uses the SIM card of a local mobile operator for more than 30 calendar days, s/he must register the IMEI codes of his devices manually themselves.
According to Article 31 of the Constitution, the freedom of conscience is guaranteed for all. Everyone has the right to profess any religion, or none at all. Forced imposition of religious views is unacceptable. Uzbekistan is a secular state where all religious organizations and citizens, regardless of their affiliation to a particular faith, are equal before the law. The state does not interfere with the activity of religious associations.
Islam is the majority religion in Uzbekistan with a more than 90% Muslim population. Approximately 5% of the population are Russian Orthodox Christians.
There are more Sunnite than Shi'ite Muslims among the residents in Uzbekistan. Islam was brought to Uzbekistan during the 8th century when the Arabs entered Central Asia.
Currently, more than 2,000 religious organizations representing 16 different religions are operating in Uzbekistan.
The 16 religions in Uzbekistan include Islam, Orthodox Church, Judaism, Buddhism, the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Evangelical Christian Baptist Church, Full Gospel Christian Church, New Apostolic Church, the Christian Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hare Krishna, and Religious Society of Bach.
In other words, more than 150 Christian organizations, eight Jewish communities, six Baha’i communities, one Hare Krishna society, and one Buddhist temple freely operate in Uzbekistan.
Believers in Uzbekistan freely celebrate all religious holidays. Thus, every year Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha and Ramadan on a larger scale; Christians, Easter and Christmas; and Jews, the High Holy Days and Purim.