Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Travel the Wold - Uzbekistan

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Uzbekistan is a country found in Central Asia, sharing its borders with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

Uzbekistan is a doubly-landlocked nation. There are only two such countries in the world, the other one being Liechtenstein in Europe. To reach any coastline from Uzbekistan, one has to cross at least two countries. The countries bordering Uzbekistan include Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and these countries are also landlocked.

Additionally, none of its rivers ever lead to the sea.

Uzbekistan is the world’s 56th largest independent state covering an area of about 172,700 square miles, and it is almost the same size as Spain in land area or the state of California in the US. The country distance from East to the west is 885 miles, while the distance from south to north is 580 miles.

The country was at the heart of the historic Silk Road, the ancient trading route or “superhighway” that connected China with Europe and the Middle East.

Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s most populous country and the majority live in rural areas.

The economic trend in Uzbekistan is for urban residents to earn twice as much as their rural counterparts.

The majority of the country’s citizens are ethnic Uzbeks who speak Uzbek, the official language. Russian is the second most widely spoken language. Sunni Muslims make up 88 percent of the population though they are secular and not religious Muslims.

The capital city is Tashkent; it covers an area of 129.2 square miles and has a population of 2.393 million 

The Tashkent region, including the capital city of Tashkent, is the economic and political center of the nation. Here you will find the international airport, bus service, and Tashkent’s beautiful metro system.

Metro Tashkent’s three stations feature marble ceilings and pillars, engraved metal, and beautiful chandeliers. Not only does it have some of the most beautiful stations in the world, this metro is the biggest system in Central Asia.

In 1966, the capital city of Tashkent was flattened by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

The Tashkent TV tower is the 11th tallest TV tower in the world and the tallest TV tower in Central Asia.

Every year, around one million students, doctors and government employees are forced to work in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields to pick cotton for the government.

Cotton accounts for 17% of Uzbekistan’s exports. It’s often referred to as ‘white gold’ because it is such a profitable industry.

Uzbekistan also raises cattle and crops vegetables, fruits, cotton, and grain.

The country is the world’s second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer. Other exports include gold, oil, and natural gas as well as uranium.

Uzbekistan's Ugam-Chatkal National Park is the natural habitat of 44 mammal species, 230 bird species and 1168 species of plants, including bears, wolves, red marmots, lynx, snow leopards and wild rams. 

The majority of the nation is desert. Annual rainfall ranges from 3.9-7.9 inches and occurs largely in the winter and spring.

The country mines 160 million ounces of gold annually and has the fourth largest deposits of gold in the world. Its Muruntau gold mine is the largest open pit gold mine in the world, located on a site where turquoise was previously mined from ancient times. The mine produces about 2 million ounces of gold every year, and the pit covers an area of 2.17 miles by 1.55 miles and a depth of 1,837 feet. 

Uzbek people also attach much more importance to the elderly. For instance, when horseriding the most senior passenger will be seated in front of the younger ones. Uzbek people also never insult or speak harshly to their parents.

Handshakes are only acceptable as a greeting between two men. An Uzbek woman is greeted by bowing to her with your right hand placed over your heart.

In Uzbek tradition, the most respected guest is seated the farthest from the entrance to the house.

Green tea is the national beverage of Uzbekistan and is consumed throughout the day.

There is a formal etiquette for pouring tea in Uzbekistan. First, it is custom to rinse out your piala (a small tea bowl) with a drop of hot tea, then return a bowlful to the pot three times before the tea is considered fit to drink.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Palov or Plov is the national dish. Made of mutton, rice, onions and grated carrots, legend holds it was invented by the cooks of Alexander the Great. Different areas of the country put their own spin on the dish, adding ingredients like pumpkins, peppers or dried tomatoes.

Traditional Uzbek bread, known as ‘obi non’ or simply ‘non’, is flat and round and always torn by hand, never sliced with a knife. It is also never thrown out.

The Uzbeks believe that turning bread upside-down brings bad fortune because they honor the bread.

Following an ancient tradition, a family member must take a bite from a small piece of Uzbek bread before departing on a journey. The rest of that bread is kept hidden or buried until the traveler comes home.

It’s common etiquette in Uzbekistan to run your hands over your face at the end of a meal to express gratitude. 

An interesting fact about Uzbekistan is the importance of music and song in its culture. Household songs are called Koshuk. Lapar is a dialogue between two singers, these are often common in traditional weddings.

The Aral Sea, located on the border of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, was once the world’s fourth-largest lake. Since the construction of a Soviet irrigation project in the 1960s, the lake has almost disappeared. It has been described as ‘one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters’.

Arranged marriages are still common in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is one of the safest countries in the world.

Thanks to Russia’s free educational system, Uzbekistan remains to be one of the countries with the highest literacy rates, an impressive 99.99%. 

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Uzbekistan... Activities tourists can enjoy in Uzbekistan include camel trekking, hiking, bird watching, rafting, and skiing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Hobby Art LTD Camel Ye Faithful stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Early Espresso CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: Karen Burniston Rectangle Crosshatch, MFT Bit Hello, and Spellbinders A2 Matting Basics

Embellishments: Gina Marie Enamel Dots


Lynn McAuley said...

It's quite interesting to read about this country that I have heard of but no nothing about. Love that fun camel card!!

kiwimeskreations said...

What an intriguing country Jeanette - thanks for bringing us this insight - Love your card - that camel face is fabulous - Smoochy by any chance?