Uzbekistan, the “land of the Uzbeks”, located in the heart of Central Asia, borders with five countries –Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the east, Tajikistan to the southeast, Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the southwest.

There are two countries in the world namely Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein being the only double landlocked.

For many travelers, Uzbekistan holds the very heart of the Central Asian Silk Road. The UNESCO Heritage Site cities such as Samarkand, Shakhrisabz (hometown of Tamerlane the Great), Bukhara and Khiva—all resonate deeply with the weight of history and its markets and chaikhanas (teahouses) still carry echoes, albeit faint at times, of its fabulous past.

The country lies between the two major rivers of Central Asia The Syr Darya (Arabs named it Jaxartes) and the Amu Darya (Greeks named it Oxus and Arabs Sayxun).

Uzbekistan at a glance

Official name: Republic of Uzbekistan

Capital city: Tashkent (population 3 million)

Other main towns: Andijan, Bukhara, Nukus, Samarkand

Population: 33 million (equivalent to 0.42% of the total world population)

Location: double landlocked in the heart of central Asia

Border Countries: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan (the only Central Asia country that has border with all others)

Area: 448,900 square kilometers

Climate: sharply continental. Dry, hot summers and mild to cold winters

Government: Presidential republic.

Life expectancy: men 73, women 75 years

Major exports: Cotton, jute, minerals (notably copper, lead, zinc, uranium and gold), chemicals, fertilizer, leather and natural gas

Official language: Uzbek; Russian, Karakalpak and Tajik are also widely used.

Unemployment: approx. 8 %

Religion: Islam (90% of the population), Russian Orthodox

Currency: Uzbek sum or soum (“So’m” in Uzbek)

National airline: Uzbekistan Airways

International telephone code: +998

Time Zone: UTC (GMT) +5

Electricity: 220 volts (50Hz) (round, two-prong plugs, standard European or older Soviet with thinner pins. European plugs will not fit the Soviet sockets, but adapters available)

Weights and measures: metric

Flag: three vertical stripes of light blue, white and green, with thin red stripes in between each colour. There is a crescent moon and 12 stars in the top left-hand corner.

National anthem: “O’zbekiston Respublikasining Davlat Madhiyasi”

National sports Kupkari  (a game played between two teams, using a goat’s carcass to score points), kurash (traditional wrestling), football, judo, boxing and tae kwon do

Public holidays:

1–2 January: New Year’s Day

14 January: Day of Defenders of the Motherland

8 March: International Women’s Day

21 March: Navruz, the Persian New Year

9 May: Day of Memory and Honour (Victory Day, for the veterans and martyrs of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945))

1 September: Independence Day

1 October: Teachers’ Day

8 December: Constitution Day (commemorating independence Uzbekistan’s first constitution)