||Uzbek, regionally Karakalpak
|Form of government
||Republic with presidential system
||UTC + 5
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia
and, with an area of 447,400 km², is about a third
larger than Germany. The country borders Kazakhstan in
the west and north,Kyrgyzstan in the northeast,
Tajikistan in the east and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan
in the south.
Over three quarters of Uzbekistan's territory is made
up of deserts and steppes. The sandy desert Kysylkum is
centrally located in the middle of the country and
covers about 40% of the total area. To the south is the
Karakum desert, the majority of which is located on
Turkmenistan's territory. In the east, the Kysylkum
merges with the steppe landscape and the country rises
to several mountain ranges prone to earthquakes. In the
border area with Tajikistan is the Gissar Mountains,
which reach heights of up to 4,300 m. On the border with
neighboring Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan has a share in the
Tian Shan Mountains (up to about 4,200 m).
The mountain ranges enclose several valleys, the
fertile Fergana basin is one of the largest. The valley
is irrigated by the Syrdarja River, which, like the
Amudarja, rises in the Central Asian mountain systems.
Both rivers originally flowed into the Aral Sea, which
is located in the north of Uzbekistan and through which
the state border with the neighboring country of
Kazakhstan runs. Today both rivers seep away in the
desert because large amounts of water are drawn for
irrigation projects. Only in exceptionally rainy times
do the water courses reach the Aral Sea, which has now
shrunk to one fifth of its original size.
The capital, Tashkent, is in northeastern Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has a continental climate, which is
characterized by dry, hot summers and relatively mild
winters. In the lower regions, the average January
values are around 2 กใ C, in the high mountain regions
around -10 กใ C. Average values of approx. 30 กใ C are
measured in the lowlands in July, the maximum values
can be over 40 กใ C. The average July values are
below 20 กใ C only above approx. 3,000 m. Summers are
extremely dry, and most of the precipitation falls in
the winter half-year. Up to 1,000 mm are measured
annually in the high mountains, and around 150 mm in the
desert and steppe areas of the lowlands.
Flora and fauna
Deserts and steppes characterize Uzbekistan, just
under 3% of the country's area is forested. In the
rainier regions of the country in the mountains there
are maple, walnut and pistachio. A large part of the
deserts are almost without vegetation, only plant
species adapted to the drought such as desert grass,
dwarf shrubs and sand acacias can grow here. Extensive
grasslands can be found in the steppe regions.
Typical desert animals such as spring mice, a large
number of reptiles such as monitor lizards, lizards,
geckos and snakes and the desert lynx caracal find a
suitable habitat here. The saiga antelope and the goat
gazelle are rare. Siberian ibex, snow leopard, wolves,
brown bears and the rare screw goat live in the mountain
regions. Of the originally numerous freshwater fish
species in the Aral Sea, only a few species remain due
to the strong salinization of the lake.
A total of around 26.85 million people live in the
Republic of Uzbekistan, around 37% of them in cities. By
far the largest city is the capital Tashkent with about
2.21 million residents, other cities are Samarkand
(368,000 residents), Namangan (423,000), Andishan
(344,000) and Bukhara (275,000). Most cities are located
in the agricultural areas in the east of Uzbekistan,
while the desert areas in the western part of the
country are only sparsely populated. The average
population density is around 60 residents per square
According to COUNTRYAAH, 80% of the population are Turkic Uzbeks, 5.5%
are Russians, most of whom live in the capital,
Tashkent. The approximately 5% Tajiks live mainly near
Bukhara and Samarkand. Other ethnic minorities are
Kazakhs, Tatars, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and the approximately
450,000 Caracal Paks who live in an autonomous region in
western Uzbekistan. The official language is Uzbek,
Russian is still very important as an everyday language.
The languages of the ethnic minorities are also
spoken. Almost nine tenths of the population of
Uzbekistan are followers of Islam, mostly Sunni. Approx.
8% are Christian Orthodox. There is a strict separation
of state and religion, the government tries to control
Islamic religious movements in the country.
The standard of living of the population is low due
to Uzbekistan's economic and ecological problems. In
rural areas, an estimated 60% of the population live
below the poverty line. The average life expectancy is
65 years. 7% of infants die shortly after birth.
Population growth has risen to around 1.4%. School
attendance is compulsory for children between the ages
of six and 15, and the educational opportunities in the
country are good, so literacy is practically extensive.
According to the 1992 constitution, Uzbekistan is a
republic with a presidential system. The head of state
is the president elected by the people for a term of
seven years, who is also the commander-in-chief of the
armed forces. The current President, Islam A. Karimov,
was elected by the Supreme Soviet of Uzbekistan in 1990
and has been confirmed three times since then, although
the constitution provides for a maximum of two terms.
The President appoints the Prime Minister as head of the
government (Shavkat Mirziyoyev since December 2003) and
the cabinet members.
The legislature lies with the Parliament (High
Assembly, "Oli Majlis"), which is divided into two. The
Upper House (Senate) has 100 members, 84 of whom are
determined by regional councils and 16 by the president.
The legislative lower house has 150 seats; 135 people
are elected by the people, 15 seats are reserved for the
"ecological movement". Senators and MPs have a five-year
Uzbekistan is divided into twelve provinces
(viloyatlar), a city district (shahar) and the
Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan.
Uzbekistan is still in the transition to a
market-based system. The liberalization of the economy,
privatization and structural reforms are making slow
progress. The official unemployment rate is a low 0.3%;
however, a fifth of the population is clearly
underemployed. A quarter of the Uzbeks (far more in
rural areas) live below the poverty line.
Around a tenth of the country's area can be used for
agriculture, a large part of which must be artificially
irrigated. Almost a third of the workforce is employed
in this area. The most important agricultural product is
cotton (Uzbekistan is one of the world's largest cotton
exporters). Other important products from the
agricultural sector are silk and sheep's wool, which
form the basis for the manufacture of textiles and
carpets. Cereals, potatoes, fruits and vegetables are
grown to meet the food needs of the population. Around
two thirds of the food has to be imported.
Uzbekistan has rich deposits of natural gas, oil,
coal, gold, silver, uranium, molybdenum, copper, lead,
zinc and tungsten. The country is one of the most
important producing countries for uranium, copper, gold,
molybdenum and tungsten. Natural gas and oil are also
mined. The main branches of industry are mining,
mechanical engineering, textile industry, chemical
industry and the food and beverage industry. The
majority of the companies have outdated technical
Russia is the most important trading partner for
exports (natural gas, oil and petroleum products,
cotton, mineral products, metals), followed by
Kazakhstan and China. The main imports are machinery and
technical products, food and chemical products. The main
supplier countries are Russia, South Korea and China.
The transport network is relatively well developed
compared to that of neighboring countries. In addition
to around 3,900 km of rail, there are approximately
81,000 km of roads available, of which 71,000 km are
extended. There is an international airport in the
capital, Tashkent. Some other airports offer connections
The currency is the Uzbek sum (= 100 tiyin).