Uzbekistan, Travellers information

Region / Country specific information - Uzbekistan

Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy  Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

More information on Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan map.

Uzbekistan Introduction Top of Page
Background: 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 1925. 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. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include insurgency by Islamic militants based in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, a non-convertible currency, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.
Uzbekistan Geography Top of Page
Location: Central Asia, north of Afghanistan
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E
Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States
Area: total: 447,400 sq km
land: 425,400 sq km
water: 22,000 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than California
Land boundaries: total: 6,221 km
border countries: Afghanistan 137 km, Kazakhstan 2,203 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,099 km, Tajikistan 1,161 km, Turkmenistan 1,621 km
Coastline: 0 km; note - Uzbekistan includes the southern portion of the Aral Sea with a 420 km shoreline
Maritime claims: none (doubly landlocked)
Climate: mostly midlatitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in east
Terrain: mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Sirdaryo (Syr Darya), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sariqarnish Kuli -12 m
highest point: Adelunga Toghi 4,301 m
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum
Land use: arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 41% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 40,000 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: drying up of the Aral Sea is resulting in growing concentrations of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then blown from the increasingly exposed lake bed and contribute to desertification; water pollution from industrial wastes and the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides is the cause of many human health disorders; increasing soil salination; soil contamination from agricultural chemicals, including DDT
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: along with Liechtenstein, one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world
Uzbekistan People Top of Page
Population: 25,155,064 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 36.32% (male 4,646,341; female 4,489,265)
15-64 years: 59.06% (male 7,351,908; female 7,504,626)
65 years and over: 4.62% (male 466,029; female 696,895) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.6% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 26.1 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 71.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.81 years
male: 60.24 years
female: 67.56 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.06 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Uzbekistani(s)
adjective: Uzbekistani
Ethnic groups: Uzbek 80%, Russian 5.5%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 3%, Karakalpak 2.5%, Tatar 1.5%, other 2.5% (1996 est.)
Religions: Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
Languages: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (yearend 1996)
Uzbekistan Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Uzbekistan
conventional short form: Uzbekistan
local long form: Uzbekiston Respublikasi
local short form: none
former: Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type: republic; effectively authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Capital: Tashkent (Toshkent)
Administrative divisions: 12 wiloyatlar (singular - wiloyat), 1 autonomous republic* (respublikasi), and 1 city** (shahri); Andijon Wiloyati, Bukhoro Wiloyati, Farghona Wiloyati, Jizzakh Wiloyati, Khorazm Wiloyati (Urganch), Namangan Wiloyati, Nawoiy Wiloyati, Qashqadaryo Wiloyati (Qarshi), Qoraqalpoghiston* (Nukus), Samarqand Wiloyati, Sirdaryo Wiloyati (Guliston), Surkhondaryo Wiloyati (Termiz), Toshkent Shahri**, Toshkent Wiloyati
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence: 1 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 September (1991)
Constitution: new constitution adopted 8 December 1992
Legal system: evolution of Soviet civil law; still lacks independent judicial system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Islom KARIMOV (since 24 March 1990, when he was elected president by the then Supreme Soviet)
head of government: Prime Minister Otkir SULTONOV (since 21 December 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president with approval of the Supreme Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 9 January 2000 (next to be held NA January 2005); note - extension of President KARIMOV's original term for an additional five years overwhelmingly approved - 99.6% of total vote in favor - by national referendum held 27 March 1995; prime minister and deputy ministers appointed by the president
election results: Islom KARIMOV reelected president; percent of vote - Islom KARIMOV 91.9%, Abdulkhafiz DZHALALOV 4.2%
Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme Assembly or Oliy Majlis (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 5 December and 19 December 1999 (next to be held NA December 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NDP 48, Self-Sacrificers Party 34, Fatherland Progress Party 20, Adolat Social Democratic Party 11, MTP 10, citizens' groups 16, local government 110, vacant 1
note: not all seats in the last Supreme Assembly election were contested; all parties in the Supreme Assembly support President KARIMOV
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Supreme Assembly)
Political parties and leaders: Adolat (Justice) Social Democratic Party [Anwar JURABAYEV, first secretary]; Democratic National Rebirth Party (Milly Tiklanish) or MTP [Aziz KAYUMOV, chairman]; Fatherland Progress Party [Anwar Z. YOLDASHEV]; People's Democratic Party or NDP (formerly Communist Party) [Abdulkhafiz JALOLOV, first secretary]; Self-Sacrificers Party or Fidokorlar National Democratic Party [Ahtam TURSUNOV, first secretary]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Birlik (Unity) Movement [Abdurakhim PULAT, chairman]; Erk (Freedom) Democratic Party [Muhammad SOLIH, chairman] was banned 9 December 1992; Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan [Abdumanob PULAT, chairman]; Independent Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan [Mikhail ARDZINOV, chairman]
International organization participation: AsDB, CCC, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Shavkat HAMRAKULOV
chancery: 1746 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 887-5300
FAX: [1] (202) 293-6804
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador John Edward HERBST
embassy: 82 Chilanzarskaya, Tashkent 700115
mailing address: use embassy street address; US Embassy Tashkent, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7110
telephone: [998] (71) 120-5444
FAX: [998] (71) 120-6335
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and green separated by red fimbriations with a white crescent moon and 12 white stars in the upper hoist-side quadrant
Uzbekistan Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country of which 10% consists of intensely cultivated, irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of its population lives in densely populated rural communities. Uzbekistan is now the world's third largest cotton exporter, a large producer of gold and oil, and a regionally significant producer of chemicals and machinery. Following independence in December 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. Faced with high rates of inflation, however, the government began to reform in mid-1994, by introducing tighter monetary policies, expanding privatization, slightly reducing the role of the state in the economy, and improving the environment for foreign investors. The state continues to be a dominating influence in the economy and has so far failed to bring about much-needed structural changes. The IMF suspended Uzbekistan's $185 million standby arrangement in late 1996 because of governmental steps that made impossible fulfillment of Fund conditions. Uzbekistan has responded to the negative external conditions generated by the Asian and Russian financial crises by tightening export and currency controls within its already largely closed economy. Economic policies that have repelled foreign investment are a major factor in the economy's stagnation. A growing debt burden, persistent inflation, and a poor business climate led to stagnant growth in 2000, with little improvement predicted for 2001.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $60 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.1% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 28%
industry: 21%
services: 51% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 40% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 11.9 million (1998 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 44%, industry 20%, services 36% (1995)
Unemployment rate: 10% plus another 20% underemployed (1999 est.)
Budget: revenues: $4 billion
expenditures: $4.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
Industries: textiles, food processing, machine building, metallurgy, natural gas, chemicals
Industrial production growth rate: 6.4% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 42.876 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 86.4%
hydro: 13.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 43.455 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 3.92 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 7.5 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: cotton, vegetables, fruits, grain; livestock
Exports: $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: cotton, gold, natural gas, mineral fertilizers, ferrous metals, textiles, food products, automobiles
Exports - partners: Russia 13%, Switzerland 10%, UK 10%, Belgium 3%, Kazakhstan 4%, Tajikistan 4% (1999)
Imports: $2.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals; foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Russia 14%, South Korea 14%, Germany 11%, US 8%, Turkey 4%, Kazakhstan 4% (1999)
Debt - external: $3.3 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $276.6 million (1995)
Currency: Uzbekistani sum (UZS)
Currency code: UZS
Exchange rates: Uzbekistani sums per US dollar - 325.0 (January 2001), 141.4 (January 2000), 111.9 (February 1999), 110.95 (December 1998), 75.8 (September 1997), 41.1 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Uzbekistan Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: 1.98 million (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 26,000 (1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: antiquated and inadequate; in serious need of modernization
domestic: the domestic telephone system is being expanded and technologically improved, particularly in Tashkent and Samarqand, under contracts with prominent companies in industrialized countries; moreover, by 1998, six cellular networks had been placed in operation - four of the GSM type (Global System for Mobile Communication), one D-AMPS type (Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System), and one AMPS type (Advanced Mobile Phone System)
international: linked by landline or microwave radio relay with CIS member states and to other countries by leased connection via the Moscow international gateway switch; after the completion of the Uzbek link to the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable, Uzbekistan will be independent of Russian facilities for international communications; Inmarsat also provides an international connection, albeit an expensive one; satellite earth stations - NA (1998)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 20, FM 7, shortwave 10 (1998)
Radios: 10.8 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (plus two repeaters that relay Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tadzhik programs) (1997)
Televisions: 6.4 million (1997)
Internet country code: .uz
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 42 (2000)
Internet users: 7,500 (2000)
Uzbekistan Transportation Top of Page
Railways: total: 3,380 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 3,380 km 1.520-m gauge (300 km electrified) (1993)
Highways: total: 81,600 km
paved: 71,237 km (these roads are said to be hard-surfaced, and include, in addition to conventionally paved roads, some that are surfaced with gravel or other coarse aggregate, making them trafficable in all weather)
unpaved: 10,363 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1996)
Waterways: 1,100 km (1990)
Pipelines: crude oil 250 km; petroleum products 40 km; natural gas 810 km (1992)
Ports and harbors: Termiz (Amu Darya river)
Airports: 267 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 10
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 257
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 222
Uzbekistan Military Top of Page
Military branches: Army, Air and Air Defense Forces, Security Forces (internal and border troops), National Guard
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 6,550,587 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 5,318,418 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 274,602 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $200 million (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2% (FY97)
Uzbekistan Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: occasional target of Islamic insurgents based in Tajikistan and Afghanistan
Illicit drugs: limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and very small amounts of opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption, almost entirely eradicated by an effective government eradication program; increasingly used as transshipment point for illicit drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and Western Europe and for acetic anhydride destined for Afghanistan
From the CIA World Factbook


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Services and get your HU $15 discount!

 

Member login

Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

Check out the previous contest winners!