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| flag=[[Image:uz-flag.png]]
| capital=[[Tashkent]]
| government=Republic, authoritarian presidential rule
| currency=Uzbek som (UZS)
| area=447,400 km<sup>2</sup>
The meaning of the name ''Uzbek'' is disputed. One version is that it is derived from Turkish Turkic 'uz/öz' ('good' or 'true') and 'bek' ('guardian').
Uzbekistan is rich in history. Samarkand was conquered by Alexander the Great. Islam was introduced by Arabs in the 8th-9th century. The most famous leader to come from Uzbekistan is Tamerlane who was born in Shahrisabz south of Samarkand. Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry.
Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, following the break up of the Soviet Union. In theory the The country is a democracy, however, since 1991 it has been run by iron-fisted dictator President Islam Karimov, whose security services are widely believed to have killed several hundred protesters in [[Andijan]] in 2005 and have been responsible for some severe breaches of the most basic human rights (torture and killings). The country is wealthy in natural resources, yet most of the money is distributed into the president's ruling elite, and much of the country still remains quite poor. Little power exists outside of the presidents family or his close allies. The country remains as the most corrupt out of any former USSR state.
* Nukus - Tashkent - Almaty (once weekly)
There are also railway lines linking Uzbekistan to [[Turkmenistan]] and [[Tajikistan]]. However, service to [[Turkmenistan]] is suspended.
Note that the train cars are very old, built during the former Soviet Union. The equipment is outdated and mostly on the life support, there are no showers, the toilets are small and dirty, and there is no air conditioning. Even the undocumented Uzbek workers in Moscow typically fly home instead of taking a train. Only consider this option if you have taken the regional trains in Russia and know what you're getting into.
===By car===
There are only two border crossings between [[Kazakhstan]] and [[Uzbekistan]] :
* ''Gisht Kuprik (Chernyaevka)'' between [[Shymkent]] and [[Tashkent]] is the main road crossing between [[Kazakhstan]] and [[Uzbekistan]] . A shared taxi or marschrutka from Kolos bus stop at [[Shymkent]] to the border costs about US$ 4. The trip takes about 1 hour. The border is open 7am to 9pm (Tashkent time). You will have to walk over the border and to take a taxi from the border to [[Tashkent]], which will cost about UZS 6000. There are reports of waiting times up to 5 or 6 hours at the border.
* There is another crossing between ''Beyneu'' in Western [[Kazakhstan]] and ''Kungrad'' in [[Uzbekistan]].
* And another crossing that allows vehicles through at ''Chinaz'' in [[Uzbekistan]].
===From Kyrgyzstan===
===By bus===
When land borders are open, buses journey run to all neighbouring countries.
===By boat===
===By train===
The main line Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara is served by two express trains named "Registon" and "Sharq": The "Registon" brings you from Tashkent in less than 4 hours to Samarkand and the "Sharq" makes the 600-km-journey Tashkent - Bukhara (with intermediate stop in Samarkand) in about 7,5 hours. A daily overnight train from Tashkent to Bukhara offers the possibility to travel during the night and win one day. Comfortable sleeping cars allow a good sleep.
Recently a new train "Afrosiob" started operating on Tashkent - Samarkand line. This Talgo-250-type train makes a respective distance in 2.5 hours time. Unlike to ordinary local trains, there are 3 classes in "Afrosiob": economy class - 36 persons per carriage room, in business and VIP. Economy class costs 46 thousand soums (roughtly $25 at official rate), business class - 65 thousand soums and VIP - 80 thousand soums. You may also expect some free drinks and snacks. It is planned to extend the "Afrosiob" line to Bukhara and, subsequently, to Khiva by 2014-2015.
Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (3 times weekly) and to Nukus - Kungrad (2 times weekly), so it's also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train.
*'''platskartny vagon''' - benches in a large car
*'''obshi vagon''' - don't take that one
===By shared taxi===
Drive on the right. International driving permit required. Minimum age: 17. Speed limit: 60 to 80 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h on highways.
There are several paved highways with twe two lanes in Uzbekistan:
* '''AH5''' from Gishtkuprik/Chernyavka on the border to [[Kazakhstan]] via [[Tashkent]], Syrdaria, [[Samarkand]], Navoi and [[Bukhara]] to Alat on the border to [[Turkmenistan]] (680 km),
* '''AH7''' from the border to [[Kyrgysztan]] via Andijon, [[Tashkent]] and Syrdaria to Xovos/Khavast on the border to [[Tajikistan]] (530 km),
===Urban transport===
 During the day the metro(underground train)is the good option. After 12 a.m. midnight you are recommended to use taxi services. It is better to call the taxi (car-service) to pick you up in advance. Some car-services can serve the foreign speaking tourists. You can get more information in the hotel.
*<do name="Camel trekking" alt="" address="" directions="in the yurt camps at Lake Aidarkul or Ayaz-Quala" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></do>
*<do name="Bird watching" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></do>
*<do name="Trekking" alt="" address="" directions="in the Ugam Chatkal National Park" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></do>
*<do name="Rafting" alt="" address="" directions="in the Chatkal or Syr-Darya Rivers " phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></do>
Uzbekistan finds itself in the curious situation of having a huge trade surplus (from its energy exports) but also having a parallel black market exchange rate. As of August 2011 March 2012 the official '''exchange rate''' was about $1 : 1,730 850 som, but the black market rate was around 2,500750, making it worth the effort to avoid official exchange offices. However, money changers are hard to come across - better to ask in one of the numerous mobile phone shops, small grocery shops or just at your hotel. The 500 and 1,000 som notes are the most popular; hence, you will be carrying around bricks of currency. The US dollar is definitely the foreign currency of choice.
'''ATMs''' do work with foreign cards, but operate at the official exchange rate, and are usually empty. Hence it's better to prepare sufficient dollars to avoid such situation. Some cash machines do dispense US dollars - however, be careful of withdrawing a large number of dollars and then leaving Uzbekistan with more money than you declared when you entered. Be aware however changing dollars to Som is technically illegal, however you will be approached by money changers, just be careful of the over zealous policeman.
In Uzbekistan people traditionally buy goods at '''bazaars'''. Prices are fixed in department stores only. In bazaars, private shops and private souvenir stores ''haggling'' is part of the game. Bazaars are the best place to observe the daily life of the locals. The ''Alayski Bazaar'' is one of the oldest and most famous bazaars of Central Asia. You will find beautiful rugs, silk, spices, handicrafts and traditional clothes in the ''Eski Djouva'' and ''Chor Su'' bazaars in the Old City of Tashkent.
*<eat name="Shurpa" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">soup of mutton (sometimes beef), vegetables</eat>
*<eat name="Bechbarmak" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="a speciality of the nomad kazakhs, made of boiled meat of sheep or beef, pieces of liver, served with opnions, potatoes and noodles">a speciality of the nomad kazakhs, boiled meat of sheep or ox and pieces of liver, served with onions, potatoes and noodles</eat>
Being an historic crossroads and part of numerous empires, Uzbek food is very eclectic in its origins. Indian, Iranian, Arab, Russian, and Chinese influences are present in this unique cuisine.
There are two national drinks of Uzbekistan: tea and wine vodka (result of more than a century of Russian domination of the land). * '''Tea''' is served virtually everywhere: home, office, cafes, etc. Uzbek people drink ''black tea'' in winter and ''green tea'' in summer, instead of water. If tea is served in the traditional manner, the server will pour tea into a cup from the teapot and then pour the tea back into the teapot. This action is repeated three times. These repetitions symbolize loy (clay) which seals thirst, moy (grease) which isolates from the cold and the danger and tchai (tea or water) which extinguisheds extinguishes the fire. If you are being served tea in an Uzbek home, the host will attempt at all times to make sure your cup is never filled. If the host fills your cup, it probably means that it is time for you to leave, but this occurs really rarely, because Uzbeks are very hospitable. The left hand is considered impure. The tea and the cups are given and taken by the right hand.
A mind-numbing variety of brands of wine and '''vodka''' are available almost everywhere.
* '''Wine''' produced in Uzbekistan has won numerous international prestigious awards for a high quality. There's nothing to wonder about, since sun in this country shines almost every day. Although Uzbekistan is predominately Muslim, for the most part the Islam practiced there tends to be more cultural than religious.
* '''Beer''' is available in every shop and is treated as soft drink and does not require any licence license to sell. There are special licenced licensed shops selling Vodka, Wine and other Drinks. Russian made vodka is available in only few shops.
* '''Kumis''' is an alcoholic mares' milk.
In Tashkent there are various night (dance) clubs and restaurants. Usually works They usually work till late night/early morning. Take enough cash because drinks and snack is snacks are much more expensive than in daily daytime restaurants.
Also you can find overnight Uzbek "chill-out" restaurants where you enjoy traditional food laying on large wooden sofas (tapchans/suri).
It is not recommended to hang out on the street or parks after 11 p.m. Even if you do not face problems with criminals you definitely attract unwanted interest of local police(militsiya) patrolling the area.
* ''Nurata Yurt Camp'', about 500 km (7 hours drive) from [[Tashkent]], 250 km /3 hours drive) from [[Samarkand]] and [[Buchara]], near Aydakul Lake, US$ 60 per person incl. full board and camel trip. The Yurts can accomodate 8 to 10 people.
* ''Ayaz Kala Yurt Camp'', about 100 km from [[Khiva]], 70 km from [[Urgench]], 450 km from [[Buchara]] and 150 km from Nukus. phone 2210770, 2210707, 3505909, fax 53243-61. Access from [[Khiva]] and [[Urgench]] is via a pontoon bridge over the Amu Darya River. The yurts are on a hill about 30 meters high, near the archaeological site of Ayaz Kala. The ancient fortresses of Ayaz Kala are nearby. US$ 60 per person incl. three meals. The yurts can accomodate 20 to 25 persons.
* ''Aydar Yurt Camp'', in the Navoi region in the center of the Kyzyl Kum desert, 10 km from Lake Aydar Kul, approx. N 41.030407, E 66.01324. The Aydar Yurt Camp is famous for camel safaris. [ UzForYou] agency (+998 66 2311059, +998 93 7238172) owns the camp. Lyudmila, the host, is hospitable and helpful but can be greedy.
In Uzbekistan, and in Central Asia in general, elderly people are greatly respected. Always treat the elderly with great respect and be deferent to them in all situations.
Also be polite with females. Traditionally it is not welcomed to flirt openly with woman. If you are a male and there is an option to address a male with the question instead of female , choose it.
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