Did you know this about Uzbekistan?



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Official Name: Republic of Uzbekistan
Capital: Tashkent (Toshkent)
Language: Uzbek (official) 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Size: 447,400 sq km
Population: 28,394,180 (July 2012 est.)
Average age: 26.2 years
GDP Per Capita:$3,300 (2011 est.)
Religion: Muslim 88% (mostly Sunni), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
Type of government: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Currency: Uzbekistani Soum
Curious fact: Uzbekistan is now the world’s second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; although it has come under increasing international criticism for allegedly use of child labor in its annual cotton harvest. Uzbekistan is also one of the furthest countries from an ocean.

Which is the National Food Dish of Uzbekistan?
Plov is considered the national food of Uzbekistan. It has small variations between regions of the country but in essence they all contain rice, vegetables and a type of meat, commonly lamb. It is always made in large amounts. I ate this plate at a gathering and found out that there was more to this dish than just its great taste. To find out why you can read our featured article Plov: unity, people and food.

Beautiful Presentation of a dish served with Plov

Beautiful Presentation of a dish served with Plov

A local Joke?
In Buchara, there is a statue of a celebrate muslim: Nasreddin Afandi. Although it is still debated whether or not he is originally from Uzbekistan, the people here often cite his fables. His stories are often charged with a lot of sense of humor to teach the young ones big lessons in life. Here is one of our favorite examples:

Reaching Enlightenment 
Nasreddin was walking in the bazaar with a large group of followers. Whatever Nasreddin did, his followers immediately copied. Every few steps Nasreddin would stop and shake his hands in the air, touch his feet and jump up yelling “Hu Hu Hu!”. So his followers would also stop and do exactly the same thing.
One of the merchants, who knew Nasreddin, quietly asked him: “What are you doing my old friend? Why are these people imitating you?”
“I have become a Sufi Sheikh,” replied Nasreddin. “These are my Murids (spiritual seekers); I am helping them reach enlightenment!”
“How do you know when they reach enlightenment?”
“That’s the easy part! Every morning I count them. The ones who have left – have reached enlightenment!”

What is Uzbekistan´s National Favorite Sport?
The national favorite sport in Uzbekistan is Kurash. According to the IKA (International Kurash Association) website Kurash is a Uzbek words that means “reaching the goal with the just or fair way”. It is a wrestling sport where two opponents battle to overpower th other. The winner is the one who succesfully tosses his opponent to the floor with his back facing the ground. This can only be achieved by using the upper part of the body, no hits allowed. Any attacks on the legs is also prohibited. It is a sport of pure will and power.

Who is Uzbekistan´s National Hero?
According to Mark Dickens, author of the book A Pheonix Rises in the Desert, Timur has now been officially recognized as a national hero of newly independent Uzbekistan. His monument in Tashkent now occupies the place where Marx’s statue once stood

Timur, like most conquerors, is praised by the ruling side and condemned by the conquered part. He brought scientists to teach and artists to decorate his capital Samarkand from the lands he had conquered, that extended all the way to Georgia and Bagdad to the south. His conquering methods were feared throughout by neighboring empires such as the Chinese. His warfare planning was meticulously organized months in advance. He did not pay the soldiers but left them the opportunity to get a hold of everything they could, which meant woman, jewels, cattle, horses and other valuables. Perhaps that explains why people feared him, more that a war most of the times it felt like a raid. To learn more about him click here.

The Amir Timur Place in the very center of Tashkent

The Amir Timur Place in the very center of Tashkent

Who is the music group loved by young and old?
There is a popular band b y the name of Bolalar headed by Tokhir Sodikov. Although we have also heard about singer Sherali Juraev.

What is the favorite T.V. Show in this country?
“Baxt formulasi” and “Ozod show” were mentioned by the people as being popular T.V shows. As an interesting fact Uzbeks enjoy soap operas and in 2005 a Mexican soap opera by the name of Esmeralda was a big hit. It was said that every day in the evening the country stopped for 1 hour in front of the T.V to watch the passionate love story of Jose Armando and Esmeralda.

What is the most popular brand of cars in Uzbekistan?
Daewoo Chevrolet Nexia and Daewoo Chevrolet Damas are the most sold cars in Uzbekistan.

What is the latest and most popular movie made here?
Telba directed by Ayyub Shahobiddinov starting Ulugbek Qodirov and Dilnoza Kubaeva.

Which is the number one touristic destiny in Uzbekistan?
Samarkand and Buxoro are probably the two most visited cities by Uzbeks. These two UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE cities are rich in their history and in its unique blend of Islamic architecture and nomadic iconography very rare in the Muslim world. A great example is the two phoenix birds portrayed in the façade of this madrassa in Buxoro.



What are the most common names for Male and Women?
In Uzbekistan the names of people usually are derived from Turkish, Arabic or Persian.

For men names like Abdulloh and Alisher are common. For woman many names are composed with GUL which means flowers, such as GULsara, MohiGUL or GULchehra.

Annika with Uzbek kids

Annika with Uzbek kids

How many letters are there in your alphabet?
During the soviet times Uzbekistan people used Cyrillic letters for the written language. After their independence in 1991 the government changed this by introducing a 29 letter alphabet system based on Latin characters.

Special Fact
Another curious fact is that their currency contains only four types of bank notes, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Soum. The problem is that 1,000 Soum is about 50 cents of a dollar. Imagine now how it’s like to carry 100 Dlls? So it is very common to see people carrying shopping bags of currency from place to place, specially the truck drivers.

Uzbek Soms

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