The highest point in Uzbekistan is Adelunga Toghi (4,301 m).
Kyzylkum, one of the world's largest deserts, is not far from Bukhara and extends into Kazakhstan.
Uzbekistan has a shortage of water and underground water and reservoirs are used for irrigation.
The Aral Sea, once the world's fourth largest body of inland water, has dramatically shrunk since the former USSR diverted the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, rivers that fed the Sea.
The Fergana Valley is divided between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
In 2002 it was reported that Russian and Uzbek archaeologists discovered a number of ancient pyramids in the Kashkadarya and Samarkand regions of Uzbekistan. The pyramids which have a flat surface, similar to those found in Central America, are fifteen metres high and thought to be up to two thousand seven hundred years old.
Over the centuries, parts of present-day Uzbekistan were known as Bactria and Sogdiana, and Maverannahr, and later, Turkestan.
After conquering Persia, Alexander the Great married Roxana, a Bactrian princess.
The Silk Road was the name given to land trade routes between China and Europe.
Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, were important centres of commerce on the Silk Road.
Tashkent began as an oasis town in the second century.
The Golden Road to Samarkand is a poem by James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915):
We travel not for trafficking alone:
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known,
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.
Samarkand is over two and a half thousand years old.
Al-Khwarizmi, one of the greatest mathematicians (born in Khiva around 780), introduced the use of Arabic numbers and was the founder of algebra.
Omar Khayyam (1044-1123), a mathematician, astronomer and poet, wrote the Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra in Samarkand.
Ibn Sina (980-1037) was a philosopher and physician, born near Bukhara, who wrote The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. Ibn Sina was known in the West as Avicenna. The Canon of Medicine, the most famous book in the history of medicine, was widely used by western physicians.
Timur, also known as Tamerlane, was born near Samarkand in 1336.
Timur conquered many countries creating a huge empire; Samarkand was his capital city.
Christopher Marlowe, the English playwright, wrote the play Tamburlaine the Great about Timur.
The ruler Ulugbek, the grandson of Timur, was a famous mathematician and an astronomer. He died in Samarkand in 1449.
Akhmed Al Fergani, the famous astronomer from medieval times, was born in the Fergana Valley.
From ancient times the Fergana Valley was known for its legendary horses.
In the sixteenth century Bobur from Fergana, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, invaded India, beginning the great Moghul Empire.
The National University of Uzbekistan, named after Timur's grandson, Mirzo Ulugbek, opened in 1918.
Uzbekistan was a member of the USSR from 1922 until 1991. 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).
At the beginning of March 2023 Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, discussed reforms with the President of Uzbekistan emphasizing the need for media freedom and highlighting the threats posed to the region by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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