Uzbekistan is the home of a number of ancient civilizations and religions. About 1.5 – 1.2 millions years ago its territory was one of the cradles of mankind. Among the evidence of it are the remains of Ferghanathropus hominid from Ferghana Valley 's site of Selungur, pebble and obsidian tools of primitive man found at other sites in the country. In the Bronze Age, 30–45 centuries ago, here developed the proto-urban fortress settlement of Sapallitepa, and the settlement of Jarkutan with a citadel, necropolis, residential area, and the oldest fire temple in the south of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan 's first urban civilizations in the form of states developed about 3000 years ago. Among them were Sogdiana , Bactria , Khwarezm, Chach, and Ferghana. They were mentioned in the Avesta – the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. Uzbekistan 's province of Khwarezm is the home of Zoroastrianism – one of the oldest world's religions. It is the place where its prophet and founder Zoroaster (Zarathushtra) came from, where Avesta – one of the world's oldest scriptures – was composed. The international community has recently celebrated the 2700 th anniversary of Avesta. Uzbekistan boasts a large number of people who during last millennium went down in history as world-famous philosophers, scientists, poets, artists and statesmen. Among them are Muhammad Al-Khwarezmiy, Ahmad Al-Ferghaniy, Al-Beruniy, Ibn Seena (Avicenna), Al-Bukhariy, Jalolitdin Manguberdy, Tamerlane, Mirzo Ulughbek, Zakhriddin Bobur, Alisher Navoeey, Kamolitdin Bekhzod.
Thanks to the location of Uzbekistan in the center of Central Asia where the main international roads crossed, it has developed a unique culture and mentality with characteristic friendliness, kindness and hospitality. Its territory between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya was a link between Europe and Asia from as long ago as the 3 rd – 2 nd millenniums BC ( Lapis Lazuli Road) to the end of the 2 nd – 1 st c BC – the beginning of the 16 th c AD (The Great Silk Road). This land was for centuries a “transmitter” of cultures and religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Manichaeism, Islam and others, and so it was more or less affected by all of them, which can now be seen in unique Uzbekistan 's monuments. A large number of Uzbekistan 's cities and towns are known worldwide as popular tourist destinations. Very old and rich in fascinating cultural and architectural heritage, they are Tashkent (2200 years old), Termez, Bukhara , Khiva (all 2500 years old), Shakhrisabz, Karshi (both 2700 years old), Samarkand (2750 years old), Margilan (2000 years old). Most of their monuments are inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
|Population||32 650 200 million people|
|Capital||Tashkent (large city)|
|Regions||12 big regions and 1 Karakalpakstan Autonomic Republic|
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional democratic republic|
|Currency unit||Uzbekistan Soum (UZS)|
|Time zone||UZT (UTC +5)|
|ISO 3166 code||UZ|
Uzbek cuisine will certainly be an exciting discovery for both gourmets and ordinary eaters. It is, first of all, famous for its pilafs. Usually cooked by men on every special occasion, the recipes of the local pilafs are the pride of the Uzbeks and the envy of many foreign cookers: though the recipes are not a secret, it is hard to make genuine Uzbek pilaf without years of training. Among the most delicious characteristic Uzbek dishes are also laghman , shurpa , manty , samsa , and, of course, Uzbek breads. Served either for the first or the second course, laghman is thick handmade dough noodles with sauce, small pieces of meat, vegetables and greens. Shurpa is a rich soup with chunks of meat, potatoes, vegetables and a lot of greens.
Manty are steamed bags with meat, potatoes or pumpkin fillings. Various types flat round loaves of bread (called lepyoshka in Russian) are mainly baked in clay tandyr ovens; these ovens and specially fermented dough give each type of them such unique taste and qualities that they are not only good for eating with main dishes but also are great snakes with sweets, sour milk, etc., or even without anything.
Outside Uzbekistan Uzbek bread is rare but extremely popular with those who once tasted them. It alone can be a reason for visiting the country… Samsa is a large pasty with bits of meat and onion or potatoes. Baked in tandyr oven, it has such extremely delicious pastry that at first you never know what you like the best in it – the pastry or the filling. Then you understand that they both taste in perfect harmony!The most popular beverage in Uzbekistan is green tea, though black tea is also common.