General Information on Uzbekistan
Useful Information on Traveling in Uzbekistan:
Uzbekistan is a country of warmth and light where you can enjoy the clear sunny sky over 300 days a year. The warmth of the sun in Uzbekistan is complemented with the warmth and hospitality of the local people, which gives you the great feeling of comfort and coziness. The Uzbeks are famous for their hospitality but you can understand what a guest means for the Uzbeks only when you sit at a feast table prepared in your honor in an Uzbek home.
Uzbekistan boasts very diverse terrains and natural attractions. They are the impressive sand dunes of the Kyzylkum Desert; they are various plain and alpine lakes, steppes and green oases; they are the majestic mountains of the Tien Shan not far from Tashkent, with their breathtaking landscapes and healing resorts, with thousands of streams feeding the great rivers of Amudarya and Syrdarya; they are fertile valleys with orchards and gardens yielding the tastiest Uzbek fruit and vegetables, melons and grapes; they are numerous cotton fields… There is also a number of most interesting nature reserves with their unique flora and fauna in the country.
Uzbekistan is also a country of world-famous historic cities and sites of ancient settlements with their most impressive architectural monuments. During its long and rich history, the predecessors of today’s Uzbekistan experienced a lot of everything. They were involved in the growth and decline of the world’s most powerful empires of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane; they suffered from a lot of wars and massacres - and enjoyed outstanding blossoms of art and science. They were crossroads of civilizations’ interaction for centuries where various cultures met and exchanged their values; thousands of caravans crossed these lands along the Great Silk Road connecting the Middle East, Mediterranean and Europe with India and China. Foreign achievements became part of the local culture then, complemented it. Uzbek traditional cuisine, for example, adopted and modified recipes foreign merchants once shared with the locals.
Today’s Uzbekistan has a developed tourism infrastructure with various services provided. An excellent holiday in the country can be spent depending on income and preferences: you can stay either in a five-star hotel or in a modest traditional Uzbek guesthouse; you can opt for an exciting adventure tour (jeep safari, skiing and heli-skiing, paragliding, mountain hiking and climbing, etc.), a beach leisure stay, a guided sightseeing tour, etc.
Location. Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia, lies mainly between two major rivers, the Syrdarya and the Amudarya. Uzbekistan is bordered by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Almost two-thirds of the country’s territory is desert and steppes; the rest part of it is mountains, valleys and oases.
Area: 448,978 sq km (172,700 sq miles). The longest distance from north to south: 925 km, from east to west: 1400 km. The autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan is located in the western third of the country. Population: 33.9 million.
The capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent, with a population of 2.6 million.
Official language - Uzbek; many of those employed in the services sector speak good English.
The national currency of Uzbekistan: Uzbek Sum (Som) - UZS. Approximate exchange rate: 1 USD ≈ 10 000 UZS. Exchange offices are available at banks, airports, railway stations and large hotels.
Religions: 88% of the population is Sunni Muslim. Around 9% of the population is orthodox Christian. The remaining 3% is comprised of Jews, Catholics, Buddhists and others. Local people are tolerant and live in mutual respect.
Electric power: 220 V AC, 50 А; CEE 7 standards 2-pin plugs and sockets.
Time Zone: UTC/GMT+5 hours.
Visa & Stay Permit
Visa-free regime for up to 30 days has been established for citizens of more than 70 countries.
A great number of other countries can obtain an e-visa to Uzbekistan by simply visiting the governmental http://evisa.mfa.uz
Read more about visa to Uzbekistan here »»
Entry to Uzbekistan with an international passport.
Any foreigner to Uzbekistan is to get a stay permit (a temporary registration) within 3 workdays after your arrival in Uzbekistan. If he / she stays at an Uzbekistan hotel or a guesthouse, such a stay permit for the period of stay at it is granted automatically. (Inquire whether the hotel / guesthouse you want to stay at provides such a permit unless your accommodation is organized by a host tour operator. Also make sure you are given your stay permit certificate with the seal of your hotel / guesthouse when you check out.) If you stay at other lodging facilities during your visit, you will have to get your stay permit from a local visits registration police department. You must save the registration until the end of the trip and present it to passport control officials when exiting the country. To bring your child to Uzbekistan you must provide her/him with an international passport or enter information about your child (if he/she is under 14 years old) into your international passport. Children under 16 do not need to fill in a customs declaration upon arrival or obtain a temporary registration to stay in the territory of Uzbekistan.
Customs Regulations in Uzbekistan
If the amount of the imported funds does not exceed 2,000 USD or the equivalent in another currency, and there are no specially declared goods, it is possible to use the «green corridor» in this case the customs declaration need not be filled out. If the amount of money imported is more than 2000 USD, it is necessary to fill in the customs declaration (in 2 copies) and save it until the end of the journey. The sum of money in foreign currency you can take out of the country must not exceed the sum you brought in. Taking out Uzbek cash (soms) is prohibited unless they are souvenirs and have little value. Each person is allowed to bring to/take out of the country not more than 10 types of medicine, with not more than 5 packs of each type. Consult our tour operators for more information on medication allowed to be brought to the country.
Personal Safety, Health and some Local Specificities
With actually very few street crimes committed in the country, Uzbekistan is absolutely safe for travelling. The people are tolerant of and friendly and hospitable to foreigners and representatives of different religions. If you are offered a bowl of tea or some bread, it would be impolite to reject them. In cities people generally follow a secular lifestyle, while rural population adheres more to Islamic traditions.
You should always have with you your passport (or its copy).
Uzbekistan uses the right-hand traffic. Be careful on the roads – there are many reckless drivers throughout the country.
No special vaccination is required to visit Uzbekistan.
You should obtain a health insurance in advance, before you enter Uzbekistan. As a rule, there are no problems as to purchasing medicine in Uzbekistan, because pharmacies are provided with all necessary medication.
National Currency of Uzbekistan
The national currency of Uzbekistan is the sum (som) - UZS.There are 1 000, 5 000, 10 000 and 100 000-som banknotes used currently. The banknotes are similar in size but vary in color; they depict Uzbekistan’s cultural and heritage sites.
Any payment in the territory of Uzbekistan can be made in the local currency only; paying for goods and services in any foreign currency is illegal.
Currency exchange offices accept US dollars, Euros and other foreign currencies; we recommend that you bring with you only new banknotes, without creases or folds, having on them no written notes or any other marks. Exchange offices are available at banks, airports, railway stations (opening hours: 9.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m. on weekdays, 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. on weekends) and large hotels (24/7). In case you do not have a customs declaration, you should exchange the amount of money you expect to spend in Uzbekistan. Without a customs declaration, you cannot exchange the local money you have failed to spend back for any foreign currency.
Do not exchange currency with unauthorised persons in the streets or at markets.
Visa and Mastercard are only acceptable in Tashkent; you had better have enough cash with you.
Weather & Climate in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has an extreme continental climate.
• Spring is very beautiful and fleeting, at the end of April you can wear summer clothes. Temperatures in April average +20°C ...+25°C (68°F-77°F).
• Summer in Uzbekistan is long, dry and hot, the temperature ranges from +30°C (86°F) to +45°C (113°F). The period from the end of June to mid-August, called chilla by the locals, is the hottest: the day temperature frequently rises to 45°C and even higher in some parts of the country.
• Autumn is warm and abundant in agricultural produce; the bazaars are full of a wide variety of cheap and quality fruits, vegetables and cucurbit crops. At the end of November the day temperature may still remain around +10°С (50°F).
Showers, rains and snows in spring, autumn and winter are occasional; they are less frequent and shorter than in Europe, for instance.
The best time to travel in Uzbekistan:
• March – June;
• August – November.
How to Dress in Uzbekistan
Suitable clothing for travels about Uzbekistan differs as to the season.
There are no restrictions or instructions as to what kind of clothes to wear – you may put on any type you like and feel comfortable in, such as shorts, T-shirts and others. It is recommended that you wear light clothes of natural textiles and a hat in hot weather.
If you travel early in spring (March to the beginning of April) or at the end of autumn (October to November), it is advisable to take a windbreaker, a sweater or a similar garment. In winter the day temperature may sometimes fall to minus 10°С - 25°С (depending on the location), so a raincoat, a warm coat, a warm hat or a knit cap will be necessary.
Remember that your footwear must be comfortable, light and strong, since you will have to walk over rough ground surfaces at times. Sunglasses, light headwear and sunblock lotion should also be kept handy.
In mountains and deserts temperature fluctuations may be very significant during the day. The air in the mountains is usually much cooler than in the cities. In Samarkand it is often quite windy. This is why alongside light clothes you should have with you some warm things.
You should be considerate towards the local traditions, culture and religion. While visiting religious sites, women should wear loose garments covering most of their arms and legs, and of course the cleavage. Headscarves, a shawl or neckerchief will be advisable to put on and cover their head and shoulders. Note that you will have to take off your shoes while entering a mosque or some of the sacred places where people pray.
Phone and the Internet
Uzbekistan country code is +998.
A traveller’s SIM card from one of the local Uzbek operators can be purchased at international airports in Tashkent and Bukhara. You should ask for it at a travellers’ information office, where you will be asked to show your passport and stamp confirming your arrival in Uzbekistan, choose a calling price option and pay for it. Offices distributing traveller’s SIM cards can also be found at the Tashkent central railway station, mobile network operator’s offices and International Hotel Tashkent and Hotel Sayokhat. Other types of SIM cards (not intended for travellers) can be purchased by foreign citizens only at the central offices of local mobile network operators.
Local mobile telephony is quite cheap;
Connection failures may occur in mountains and deserts;
The larger is the city the better is the quality of Internet it offers. Some remote villages may fail to offer any Internet services at all. Many hotels provide free Wi-Fi into their premises.
|Uzbekistan area codes (landline) are the following:|
|Nukus, Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic||+998 61|
|Karshi, Kashkadarya||+998 75|
|Khiva, Khorezm||+998 62|
|Termez, Surkhandarya||+998 76|
|Gulistan, Syrdarya||+998 67|
|Uzbekistan mobile network operators codes are the following:|
|+998 90, +998 91|
|+998 93, +998 94|
|+998 99, +998 95|
If you want to phone somebody in Uzbekistan from outside the country, you will have to dial the international exit code of the country you are in, add 998, 2-digit Uzbekistan area code / mobile network operator code and 7-digit subscriber’s number.
If you are in Uzbekistan and want to phone somebody in another Uzbek city, you have to dial 8, add 3 to the area code for the landline, or 5 to the mobile operator code, and 7-digit subscriber’s number, e. g. 8+3+66+XXXXXXX to call from Tashkent to Samarkand (landline) or 8+5+90+XXXXXXX to call a mobile subscriber from a landline phone. In order to phone from a mobile phone or a land phone to a mobile phone within a city, just dial the 7-digit subscriber’s number (or the this number with the codes from a mobile phone). A mobile-to- mobile call between cities within the country requires the codes.
Uzbek traditional cuisine is probably the best in Central Asia. It adopted and modified recipes foreign merchants once shared with the locals during the Silk Road times.
Uzbek cuisine is rich, delicious and diverse. Most of the dishes contain meat (mutton, beef, chicken) or fish. Delicious meat in different combinations with all kinds of vegetables, a variety of sausages, dairy products, aromatic tandoor pastries, thick soups... and bowls of ripe vegetables and fruits – no one has ever been hungry, even strict vegetarians!
Main culinary brand of Uzbekistan is pilaf, which is prepared in each city according to its own special recipe Sunkissed fruits and vegetables, oriental spices, famous melons and nuts are plentiful in local bazaars.
The most popular Uzbek dishes are the following: pilaf, laghman, samsa, shurpa, manti, nahud, and shashlik.
|•||Pilaf (osh in Uzbek) is Uzbekistan’s signature dish. It is made of rice cooked in stock with oil, meat, spices, and carrots. Every Uzbek region has its own unique pilaf recipe.|
|•||Laghman (also lagman) is dough noodles in gravy with small pieces of meat and vegetables. The dish was adopted from China and modified.|
|•||Samsa is a triangular or rectangular pasty filled with meat, onion and little piece of broadtail fat, or with chopped potatoes or pumpkin. Samsa pasties are baked in Uzbek traditional clay oven tandir.|
|•||Shurpa is a soup with mutton chunks and vegetables.|
|•||Manti is steamed Uzbek dumplings with meat and potato fillings or pumpkin fillings - all with little broadtail fat pieces, onion and spices (cumin and pepper).|
|•||Nahud is braised chickpeas (garbanzos) and mutton.|
|•||Shashlik is Uzbek shish kebab made from a variety of meats and having a lot of recipes.|
If you have gastrointestinal problems you should be careful about local food. It is very tasty but contains much fat. Drink only bottled water and hot tea after meals.
There are no strict prohibitions as to alcohol use. Alcoholic drinks can be bought in special shops and ordered at cafes and restaurants. Taking alcohol in streets and public places is not acceptable.
Various Uzbek flat breads baked in tandir clay ovens are also extremely popular.
If you need any special diet during your tour in the country, please advise us of it in advance.
Cost of Food in Uzbekistan
Our tours come with accommodation and breakfasts. If you wish, we can additionally reserve tables for you in local restaurants. If you want to make reservations yourself, the information on how much food will cost you in the country is below. Note that the following prices are approximate and may vary depending on the location and vendor.
|•||Coffee/Tea:||1 - 3 USD|
|•||Cold drink:||1- 2 USD|
|•||Bottled water:||0.5 USD|
|•||Beer:||1 - 2 USD|
|•||Lunch (two courses, salad):||5 - 25 USD|
|•||Dinner (two courses, salad + dessert):||10 - 25 USD.|
Photographing and Videoing Sites
Using a camera at the tourist sites is permitted unless a site has a prohibition sign. They charge additional fees for taking pictures at most tourist attractions, inside museums or historical monuments though.
Do not take photos and videos at airports, railway stations, facilities of strategic importance and some religious places. If you want to use a camera in a functioning mosque, you should first ask the worshippers there for permission.
Tips are welcomed in Uzbekistan, they are usually about 5-10%. It is quite acceptable if you thank service staff in this way.
Uzbekistan has long been renowned for the hospitality of its people. Hospitality is both their tradition, a family rule and a national feature. They always welcome every guest in their homes very warmly, and immediately offer them tea and food they have. If a foreign guest wants to repay their treatment by giving them money, they may get offended, saying ‘Why? We welcomed you straight from the heart!’ So it is always better to give them souvenirs than cash in this case.
When it comes to dealing with local service workers, such as waiters, potters, drivers, guides, interpreters, etc, giving tips to them is appropriate - and of course very welcome - if you liked their services.
The thriving industry of traditional arts and crafts in Uzbekistan is a traveler’s attraction as well. The offer is enormous, and there is always a handmade piece of superb artistry you can buy at a very modest price. Traditional Uzbek handicrafts are very diverse and extremely appealing. They are ceramics, wood carving, ganch alabaster carving, knife forging, metal chasing and embossing, carpet weaving, silk making, miniature painting on varnished surfaces, wicker weaving, painting on leather and gourds, gold and bead embroidery, suzani tapestry making, national dress and footwear making (chapan caftans, duppi skullcaps, sharp-end mules, leather high boots, etc), household utensil making (kurpacha blankets, beshik cradles, various chests, etc) and many others.
You can easily buy Uzbek souvenirs at local bazaars, tourist sites, hotels or department stores. Almost all handicrafts can be taken out of the country but there are some regulations you can ask your guide or tour organizer about. There is a limit on carpets, for instance, and taking out antiques is forbidden.
National holidays in Uzbekistan
• January 1 - New Year;
• March 8 - International Women's Day;
• March 21 - Navruz celebrations (Eastern New Year);
• May 9 - Day of Memory and Honor;
• September 1 - Independence Day;
• October 1 - Teacher and Mentor Day;
• December 8 - Constitution Day.
• Ramadan Khait (Eid-Al-Fitr)
• Kurban Khait (Eid-Al-Adha)
Uzbekistan National Flag and Coat of Arms
The national flag of the Republic of Uzbekistan symbolizes the country’s traditions and historical links with the states that existed within its today’s territory in the past. The blue stripe is a symbol of blue skies and life-giving water. Besides, blue was the color of Tamerlane’s imperial flag. The white stripe symbolizes peace, moral and spiritual purity, daylight, sincerity and best wishes. The green one is a symbol of nature, youth, hope and joy. The thin red stripes between the wide ones signify flows of vital force connecting the earth and the sky with people’s pure souls.
The image of a young crescent moon is a traditional symbol the Uzbeks have been using for centuries in various senses (political power, Islam, etc). It is also a symbol of the birth of Uzbekistan’s independence. The three rows of twelve stars refer to a solar calendar year which begins on Nowruz, usually on March 21 (Persian New Year; also spelled Nawruz, Navruz, Novruz). They also refer to the twelve principles of ruling a country (set forth in a work of Muhammad Khwandamir, a Persian historian and Islamic scholar; also spelled Khvandamir, Khondamir, Hondemir): justice, prowess, commitment, moral values, etc. According to Asian medieval scholars, the twelve stars also signify universal wholeness and perfection.
National coat of arms. The central part of the National Coat of Arms of Uzbekistan is the mythical creature Huma (also spelled Homa, Humo, Khumo), a bird of happiness and love for freedom. Behind it there is a fertile valley with two rivers flowing across it (referring to the rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya) and the sun shining over it. The bird and the valley with the sun are surrounded by a wreath made of wheat (right half) and cotton (left half) - the country’s staple crops. The emblem is crowned with an eight-pointed blue star Rub el Hizb - a symbol of Islam (professed by a majority of Uzbekistan population) as well as the country’s unity - with a crescent and a star inside it. Running around the wreath halves and placed under the bird is a band with the three colors of Uzbekistan national flag.
Embassies and Consulates in Uzbekistan
There are 50 embassies and consulates in Uzbekistan (all located in Tashkent).
Embassies and Consulates of the Republic of Uzbekistan
There are over 30 embassies and 10 consulates of the Repulblic of Uzbekistan in Asia and Europe, as well as the USA.
Photos of Uzbekistan:
Our video gallery:
|Tashkent Tourist Attractions||Cuisine of Central Asia||Kopkari: Headless Goat Carcass Polo||Uzbek fruit and vegetables|
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