Official Name: Republic of Uzbekistan
Official Language: Uzbek
Government: Presidential republic
Major Cities: Smarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Ferghana
Provinces: Andijan, Bukhara, Fergana, Jizzakh, Qashqadaryo, Samarkand, Surkhandarya, Syrdarya, Namangan, Khorazm, Navoiy, Tashkent and republic of Karakalpakstan
Ethnic Groups: Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Tatars, Karkalpaks, and others
Holidays: January 1 Yangi Yil Bayrami, January 14 Vatan himoyachilari kuni, March 8 Xalqaro Xotin-Qizlar Kuni, March 21 Navro'z Bayrami, May 9 Xotira va Qadirlash Kuni, September 1 Mustaqillik Kuni, October 1 O'qituvchi va Murabbiylar Kuni, December 8 Konstitutsiya Kuni
Airport: Tashkent International Airport
Religion: Islam and Christianity
Area: 448 978 km2 (56th)
Area Under Rice Cultivation: 61000 ha
Rice Production Season: 1. Planting: Apr.-May. 2. Harvesting: Aug.-Sep.
Agricultural Website: www.agro.uz
Population: 31,025,500 (41st , 2013)
Currency: Uzbekistan Som (UZS)
Calling Code: +998
Introduction. Uzbekistan, is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic, comprising 12 provinces, 1 autonomous republic, and 1 capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five countries: Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea to the north; Tajikistan to the northeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Once part of the Turkic Khaganate and later Timurid Empires, the region that today includes the Republic of Uzbekistan was conquered in the early 16t" century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads. The area was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19 century, and in 1924 what is now Uzbekistan became a bordered constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991 (officially celebrated the following day).
Geography. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres (172,700 sq mi). It is the 56 largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS countries, it is the 5th largest by area and the 3rd largest by population. Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, and longitudes 56° and 74° E. It stretches 1,425 kilometres (885 mi) from west to east and 930 kilometres (580 mi) from north to south. Bordering Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea to the north and northwest, Turkmenistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, and Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan also shares a short border (less than 150 km or 93 mi) with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country. It is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries), the other being Liechtenstein. In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, none of its rivers lead to the sea. Less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The rest is vast desert (Kyzyl Kum) and mountains.
Climate. Uzbekistan has an extreme continental climate. It is generally warmest in the south and coldest in the north. Temperatures in December average -8°C (18°F) in the north and 0°C (32 °F) in the south. However, extreme fluctuations can take temperatures as low as -35°C (-31°F). During the summer temperatures can reach 45°C (113°F) and above. Humidity is low. Spring (April to June) and fall (September through October) are in general the most pleasant times to travel. In fall its harvest time and the markets are full of fresh fruit. If you're interested in trekking, then summer (July and August) is the best time, because summers are almost dry. In recent years Uzbekistan was notably affected by the global warming and dry-out of the Aral Sea, which turned snowy cold winters to mild with less precipitation by allowing traveling in the wintertime.
Agriculture. Agriculture in Uzbekistan employs 28% of the country's labor force and contributes 24% of its GDP (2006 data). Crop agriculture requires irrigation and occurs mainly in river valleys and oases. Cultivable land is 4.4 million hectares, or about 10% of Uzbekistan's total area, and it has to be shared between crops and cattle. Cotton is Uzbekistan's main cash crop, accounting for 17% of its exports in 2006. With annual cotton production of about 1 million ton of fiber (4%-5% of world production) and exports of 700,000-800,000 tons (10% of world exports), Uzbekistan is the 6th largest producer and the 2nd largest exporter of cotton in the world. However, because of the risks associated with a one-crop economy as well as from considerations of food security for the population, Uzbekistan has been moving to diversify its production into cereals, while reducing cotton production. Thus, the area sown to cotton was reduced from 1.8 million hectares in 1990 to 1.4 million hectares in 2006, while the area under cereals increased from 1.0 million to 1.6 million hectares (in part at the expense of areas allocated to feed crops). Another cause behind moves to diversify may be environmental, because the large quantities of irrigation and fertilization needed to produce cotton have contributed to the drying up of the Aral Sea and to the severe pollution of the soil in the surrounding areas. The main cereals are wheat, barley, corn, and also rice, which is grown in intensively irrigated oases. Minor crops include sesame, onions, flax, and tobacco. Fresh fruits are mainly consumed domestically, while dried fruits are also exported. Uzbek melons, known for their long life and unique taste, are widely sought after in the large cities of the CIS.
Rice. Uzbekistan was the former Soviet Union's largest producer of fruits and vegetables. About 15% of the total area is crop land. During the Soviet era, cotton was grown on almost half of all sown land. Cotton is grown in the crescent beginning in the Fergana Valley and extending south along the Tien Shan Mountains to Samarkand and Bokhara, and then west along the Amu Darya River. Rice, wheat, barley, and corn are important grain crops. Rice is produced on 48 specialized state farms, and about 85% of the rice crop comes from the southwestern part of Karakalpakistan and the Khorezm region. In 1999, over 4.3 million tons of cereals were produced. Sesame, tobacco, onions, flax, and various fruits are also grown. Figures released by the agriculture and water ministry suggest that these two northern regions alone were responsible for three-quarters of the 75,500 tonnes of rice Uzbekistan produced in 2003. The economy of Khorezm Region is primarily based on cotton. Cotton is by far the main crop, although rice production has increased significantly in the last several years (though the Uzbek government discourages rice production near to deserts, over water usage concerns). There are also many orchards and vineyards, melon and gourd plantations and potato fields. Khorezm Region is famous for its "gurvak" melon in Uzbekistan. Rice is grown in summer under flood irrigation mostly with winter wheat. The Uzbek Research Institute of Rice (UzRI-Rice) is responsible for rice crop improvement and seed production. The Institute was established in 1971 with the main objectives to conduct basic and applied research on rice and legume crops; to provide basic information and research production problems using multidisciplinary approach; to increase overall rice production and improve grain quality in Uzbekistan thereby raising the living standard of farmers and the development of the nation.