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Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan Map, Map of Uzbekistan, country of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is one of five republics in Central Asia which used to be part of the Soviet Union. It is bordered on the west and north by Kazakhstan, on the east by Kyrgyzstan, on the southeast by Tajikistan, and on the south by Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. It was formerly the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Uzbekistan includes the Karakalpak Autonomous Republic, which occupies about 37 percent of Uzbekistan's territory. Uzbekistan's land area totals about 447,400 sq km (about 172,750 sq mi). Toshkent is the capital and chief industrial and cultural center.

Land and Resources
Uzbekistan's terrain is composed primarily of plains such as the Turan Lowland. Plains occupy about four-fifths of the republic's territory. Branches of the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains rise in the east and northeast, with the highest elevation in the republic reaching 4643 m (about 15,234 ft).

Tien-Shan Trekking - Trekking in the Tien Shan Mountains

Earthquakes, such as the one that destroyed large portions of Toshkent in 1966, are common. The climate is desert continental; temperatures fluctuate greatly over the course of a year. Average daily temperatures in January range from -6° to 2° C (21.2° to 35.6° F), and in July from 32° to 45° C (89.6° to 113° F). Precipitation is scant, and irrigation is necessary for crop cultivation, except along mountain slopes. The north-central part of the republic is occupied by the Qyzylqum, one of the largest deserts in the world.  Mountain Goat Saiga   
Most of Uzbekistan's rivers drain internally or dissipate before reaching a terminal body of water. The two largest rivers, the Amu Darya and Syrdarya, flow into the Aral Sea. They have been heavily tapped for irrigation, and as a result, the surface of the Aral Sea has declined sharply in recent decades, with severe environmental damage to the surrounding ecosystem. The republic contains many large artificial lakes and reservoirs, such as Lake Aidar, which is fed by irrigation runoff water. The republic also boasts a great variety of wildlife. Desert fauna include the extremely rare Saiga antelope and a large lizard that can reach lengths of 1.6 m (5 ft). The rare snow leopard can be found at higher elevations, which are abounding with several varieties of mountain goat.

With about 26,021,000 inhabitants (according to the report pubd in March 2006), Uzbekistan remains the third largest nation in CIS after Russia and Ukraine. The country has one of the highest birth rates in post-Soviet space. It is expected that the population of Uzbekistan will reach 40 million by 2020.  Uzbeks, a Turkic-speaking people with an Islamic heritage, constitute 74 percent of the population. Russians are the largest minority with 5.3 percent. As in most other former Soviet republics in Central Asia, the size of the Russian minority has decreased in recent years, as thousands have emigrated to Russia and elsewhere. Tajiks (4.7 percent) and Kazakhs (4.1 percent) are the next largest minorities, followed by Tatars, Karakalpaks, Koreans, Kyrgyz, Ukrainians, Turkmens, and Turks. The Russians in Uzbekistan live almost exclusively in Toshkent and other industrial centers. Tajiks are concentrated in the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand. Karakalpaks reside principally in their home region, the Karakalpak Autonomous Republic.

Uzbekistan has negative balance of external migration. According to official data, some 98,000 people, or up 12,300 people year-on-year, migrated in 2005. Main migration partners of Uzbekistan are Russia and Kazakhstan. The country receives about US$500 million annually from export of labor forces.

Most of the population of Uzbekistan lives in rural settlements. Slightly more than 36 percent of the total population live in urban areas. With a population of about 2,400,000, Toshkent, the capital, is the largest city in Central Asia and the fourth largest in the former USSR (after Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Kyiv). Other major cities, which are concentrated in the eastern half of the country, include Samarkand, Namangan, Andijon, and Bukhara. The country's population growth is high, about 300,000 per year. Average lifetime made up 69.4 among male and 73.8 among female.

Quoted from Kurt E. Engelmann. "Uzbekistan," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R). Late amendments by D.Page.

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