• Population: 26.9 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Tashkent
  • Area: 447,400 sq km (172,700 sq miles)
  • Major language: Uzbek, Russian, Tajik
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 70 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Uzbek som = 100 tiyins

    The Republic of Uzbekistan- a land hidden in shadows the world knows next to nothing about. This is certainly not your run of the mill travel destination. This is a landlocked nation strange to quite a many, and is the place for the traveller who possesses an insatiable curiosity for new experiences and, technically speaking, the unknown. Is it that country where the U.S. government sends people to disappear? But what ought to be known is Uzbekistan stood in the middle of the great Euro-Asian trade with the Silk Road, situated at its crossroads. Hence, the traveller will find that there is a little bit of everything here. In the history of this one of a kind nation, the Turks, Mongols, Russians, Persians, Indians, and Chinese have stamped their influences on the city facade, the faces, and on the dining tables. The place has quite a history that Uzbekistan has shared with us all as we sat during our history classes and lulled off to the mighty feats of one of the greatest warrior statesman the world has ever seen, Tamerlane The Great (Amir Tamur). However, it is yet to be made known if Borat Sagdiyev’s animosity towards this noble country is one of jealousy, or of the society’s repulsive treatment of women.



    Uzbekistan, with a total area of 447,400 km2, is one of only two double-landlocked nations that lies just north of Afghanistan on geographic coordinates 41 00 N, 64 00 E. The geographical features of the country is distant from most other Central Asian countries and takes more similarity of mountain, flat, and desert terrains to the south, Afghanistan. The perfectly irrigated grasslands of Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Zarafshon, and Fergana Valley in the east endures semi-arid climates while the mid-latitude region, a desert climate. The majestic mountains that surround the valleys are in the bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyztan, the highest point elevated 4,301 metres, the Adelunga Toghi, and the lowest point, thus, is Sariqarnish Kuli at -12 metres. The country suffers lengthily extreme hot summers, and eventually soothes to the calm cool of winter.


    Uzbekistan, even with a history of so many invaders from east to west, north to south that has shaped the Uzbekistanis for 2000 years in terms of face food, paradoxically has a significant population of ethnics. In fact, of the population of 27,606,007 as of late 2009, about 80% are Uzbeks, while only 5.5% are Russians and 5% are Tajiks, whereas the remainder are Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Tatars, and so on. UZBEK is the national language with a 74.3% demographic, while RUSSIAN is also widely spoken by 14.2%, which reflects the immense Russian influence in the country. ENGLISH is a flourishing language in the region commonly spoken by those in the tourism and hospitality industries.

    As a Muslim nation, 88% are Muslims, mostly Sunnis, while the Eastern Orthodox who you’d mostly find at the vodka waterholes succeed at 9%. Christianity is firmly encouraged against by the government, hence the less than 1% demographic in the country. Apart from this, Uzbekistan is a man’s world, as in you won’t see many women out. To the femme traveller, the man-centric traditional society of the Uzbeks is not woman-friendly with traditions that equal women to a pack of meat always and ever responsible for work and chores. Worse, women are restrained to spend time in public for relaxation and leisure. Massage houses, hamam, are for men, to say the least.


    The charms of old city and capital of Tashkent are unprecedented but with a government high in corruption, Tashkent possesses some of the beautiful and the ugly of architectures in the world. But, the three winning cities are Samarqand, Bukhara and Khiva– the great trading cities on the Silk Road. Uzbekistan tourism is roughly promoted and is nowhere near an economic cash register as its natural gas industry, so much better for the modern-day Columbus might that be said. While camel trekking in Lake Aidarkul, rafting in Syr Darya, skiing and simple bird watching seem like fun plans, still the traveller is bound to ask, what are they really good here? The answer: food.

    Uzbek gastronomy is the biggest and the baddest adventure in the republic with clashes and marriages of international influences resulting to a palette of flavours that anyone from anywhere will appreciate from Chinese noodle soups, Persian kebabs or shashlik, rice pilaf, ravioli/dumplings or chuchvara, and so on brought by traders from Europe and Asia crossing the Uzbekistan cities to and back. Uzbek cuisine is fundamentally meatcentric, rarely any stand-alone vegetable dishes, and varies from hot and sizzling to raw and funky like raw brain and gizzards, that when offered, the traveller must be careful not to offend.

    Plov, the national dish is made of rice, carrots, onions, raisins, peas and mutton, versions varying essentially by region. Bread, like plov, is a staple and can be bought anywhere for no more than 400 Uzbek som. Regions hand down their own rendition of making breads or non, but Samarqand’s clay-baked obi-non is the bread of champions. Uzbek confections is no myth ladies and gentlemen. They also love simple sugars in Uzbekistan and some the traveller may want to try are khorezm baklava, kholvaitar, and shakarli bodom-truly mouth-watering, simple recipes with a sophisticated taste. This insight is definitely unchartered territory to the outside world attributing to Uzbekistan’s geographical trait of being doubly-landlocked, but endearing no less.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

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