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Uzbekistan Information - Page 2
Uzbekistan is famous for its ancient cities (Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand) which are over two and a half thousand years old. The cities were important centres of commerce and learning on a branch of the Silk Road, the trade route between China and Europe.

Over the centuries, the region known as Bactria and Sogdiana, Maverannahr, and later, "Turkestan", has been controlled by Persia, Alexander of Macedon, Arabs, Seljuq Turks, Mongols, Timurids, Uzbeks and Russians.

By the end of the nineteenth century present-day Uzbekistan was ruled by the Russian Empire and became part of Russian Turkestan.

Turkestan became part of the USSR and in 1924 Uzbeks and Tajiks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzes and Turkmen were divided into separate republics within the Soviet Union. Members of the former USSR were Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia (from WW2), Latvia (from WW2), Lithuania (from WW2) and Moldova (from WW2).

Following the Second World War, a "Cold War" existed between the USSR and the West. This situation continued until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 introducing extensive political and economic reforms (Perestroika) and calling for a greater openness (Glasnost) between nations.

At the end of 1991 the USSR was dissolved and Uzbekistan became independent.

The agricultural sector is the largest employer. Cotton is an important crop. Uzbekistan is one of the world's largest cotton producers. Other agricultural products include grain, vegetables, grapes, melons and tobacco. Livestock is reared with Uzbekistan known for raising Karakul sheep and silkworms.

Uzbekistan's industries are supported by rich resources. Major exports are oil, natural gas and gold. There are also supplies of coal, silver, copper, lead, molybdenum, tungsten, uranium and zinc.

Industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machine building, textiles and food processing.

Tourism is a priority for development and the government is keen to promote investment in tourist facilities.

Folk art includes ceramics, carving, engraving, weaving, carpet making, embroidery, jewellery and miniature painting. Many Uzbek craftsmen and craftswomen belong to artisan organisations. Carpets sold in Bukhara have been world famous throughout the centuries.

Music is an important part of Uzbek culture. Folk organisations perform traditional song and dance.

Uzbekistan is a successful competitor in the Olympics. In 2002 Mahamadkadyz Abdullaev won a Gold Medal in light-welterweight boxing and Artur Taymazov gained a Silver Medal in freestyle super heavyweight wrestling. Taymazov went on to gain Gold in 2004 along with fellow countryman Alexandr Dokturishivili who won the Greco-Roman Gold Medal.

Kurash, a martial art, has been practised in Uzbekistan for over three thousand years. Horse riding is a traditional sport and football is a popular team game.

Muslim holy days are observed. Other days celebrated in Uzbekistan include New Year's Day (l January), Women's Day (8 March), Victory Day ( 9 May), Independence Day (1 September) and Constitution Day (10 December).

News from Uzbekistan is available from Newslink.

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