Uzbekistan

With a spellbinding collection of ancient cities and forts, Uzbekistan is Central Asias biggest crowd puller in terms of attractions. It is a doubly landlocked country which is a unitary, presidential and constitutional republic including 12 provinces, one capital city, and one autonomous republic. Bordered by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; the country is one of the largest Central Asian states.

In Uzbekistan, the cities of Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara possess fabulous mosques, mausoleums, and medressas. However, the fast disappearing Aral Sea, the fortress of Karakalpakstan, and ecotourism opportunities at Nuratau Mountains drag travellers here from far and wide. Not to miss, the capital city of Tashkent that boasts of modern and Soviet-era architecture. Also, the famous Chorsu Bazaar at Tashkent is a draw both for locals and tourists with its acres of spices, sack of grains, rows of freshly slaughtered livestock and heaps of fruits. Though considered a harshly governed police state, Uzbekistan is an extremely friendly country when it comes to hospitality. The people here make you feel genuinely welcome.

With a population of over 30 million people, Uzbekistan has Islam as its dominant religion. Muslims constitute 90 percent of the population here. 5 percent people follow Russian Orthodox Christianity and the rest 5 percent follow other religions. Uzbek is the only official state language in the country. However, Tajik, Karakalpak, and Russian are spoken in different regions.

Culture-wise, Uzbekistan is a rich country. Pottery and embroidery are two most respected crafts here. Shashmaqam, a central Asian music genre is popular in various cities. In the Uzbek cuisine, noodles and bread play an important part. Mutton is the most popular meat whereas green tea is the national hot beverage. The use of alcohol is less as compared to the West, but wine is relatively popular. Apart from its culture, the country also takes pride in having a high literacy rate, with 99.3 percent of adults over 15 years can read and write.