Passport to: Uzbekistan
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Posted: January 01, 2023
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    These Karakul sheep live in a desert of Uzbekistan. (AP/Mansur Mirovalev)
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    The old city section of Khiva, Uzbekistan (AP)
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    The money people use in Uzbekistan is called Uzbek sum. (123RF)
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    Chuchvara is a dish of dumplings stuffed with meat, onion, and spices. (123RF)
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    Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (Sergei Bobylev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Can you spot Uzbekistan on a map? Look in Central Asia, smack in the middle of several other “—stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan. The ending of these words comes from the Persian word istan, which means “land.”

What do you know about the “Land of the Uzbeks”?

Old MacDonald had a . . . silkworm farm. Uzbekistanis also farm cotton, vegetables, grapes, and Karakul (CARE-uh-cuhl) sheep. Karakul sheep make warm wool, meat, and good milk.

What’s going out? On a truck, train, or plane leaving Uzbekistan, you’ll find oil, coal, silk, fruit, and sheepskins. The rest of the world buys these provisions from Uzbekistan. But the country doesn’t have enough trucks and trains to carry all that could be sold.

Could you spare a drink? Uzbekistan often lacks water because rivers grow dry.

A hard history. Uzbekistan used to be part of the communist Soviet Union. The Soviet Union included 15 countries. It squashed people’s individual freedoms. Uzbekistan now has a freer government, but the hard history still shows. Many people still do not get good health care.

Money: Uzbek sum

Say hello: “Assalomu alaykum” (ahs-sah-LAH-mu uh-LAY-kum) means “Peace be with you” in Arabic.

Religion: Most people in Uzbekistan follow Islam. A much smaller number of people are Eastern Orthodox.

Languages: Uzbek and Russian

Leader: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Capital city: Tashkent

Dinner: chuchvara—a dish of dumplings stuffed with lamb or beef, onion, and spices

Size: slightly larger than California

Animals: rodents, foxes, wolves, antelopes, bears, boars, Siberian goats, lynx

Houses: It can be hard to find housing in Uzbekistan. Many people build their own and plant trees and gardens around them.