General information about the Republic of Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan is situated in Central Asia, and covers an area of 448.9 thousand sq. km. The length of the territory of the Republic from west to east is 1 425 km from north to south - 930 km.
The territory in the north and north-east of the Rebublic of Uzbekistan borders with Kazakhstan, in the east and south-east with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the west with Turkmenistan, in the south with Afghanistan. The total length of the country border is 6221 km. The long border with Afghanistan is 137 km, with Kazakhstan - 2203 km, with Kyrgyzstan - 1099 km, with Tajikistan - 1161 km and Turkmenistan - 1621 km (administrative-territorial structure of the Republic of Uzbekistan).
The Republic of Uzbekistan declared September 1, 1991 the Day of Independence. The Republic has diplomatic relations are established with 134 countries. The embassies of 45 countries and many foreign organizations have set up their offices in Tashkent. The list of the embassies and consulates of Uzbekistan is available here.
Culture of Uzbekistan
Culture of Uzbekistan is one of the brightest and original cultures of East. It is inimitable national music, dances and painting, unique national kitchen and clothes. The Uzbek national music is characterized as variety of subjects and genres. The songs and tool plays according to their functions and forms of usage can be divided into two groups: performed in the certain time and under the certain circumstances and performed at any time. The songs connected with customs and traditions, labor processes, various ceremonies, dramatized entertainment representations and games belong to the first group.
The Uzbek people is well-known for its songs. Koshuk — household song with a small diapason melody, covering one or two rows of the poetic text. The dancing character of a melody of this genre provides their performance in support of comic dances. «Lapar» is a dialogue-song. In some areas the term — lapar is applied to wedding songs «Ulan» (which is performed as a dialogue of man and women). Genre «yalla» includes two kinds of songs: a melody of a narrow range, and solo simultaneously with dance. National and professional poems of the poets of East are used as the texts for the songs. The special place in the Uzbek musical heritage occupy «dastans» (epic legends with lyric-heroic content). Also «Makoms»- are the basic classical fund of professional music of oral tradition.
The dances of uzbeks distinguish softness, smoothness and expressiveness of movements, easy sliding step, original movements on a place and on a circle.
The development of national painting began many centuries ago. At 16–17 centuries art of the manuscript and binding in Bukhara and some other urban centers has achieved significant success. The decorating of manuscript included refined calligraphy, performance by water paints and thin ornaments on fields. In Samarkand and especially in Bukhara the Central Asian school of a miniature has achieved a great success and were developed many different style directions. One of them, for example is connected with traditions of Behzod, which characterized with its gentle style of writing the letter and architectural elements.
The Uzbek national clothes of the end of XX centuries remain constant up these days. The men in that time carried a direct cover shirts, bottom and top dressing gowns. The dressing gowns were very light and made from cotton wool. There were cuts on each side of dressing gown for convenience at walking. The trousers were made wide, of direct breed lent from top to bottom. Female clothes: dressing gowns, dress.
Uzbek men’s clothing: The basis of national men’s suit is a chapan, the quilted robe, tied with a kerchief. Traditional men’s cap is tubeteika. Kuylak is the men’s straight cut undershirt. Ishton is men’s wide trousers, narrowed at ankles. Traditional footwear is high-boots, made of thin leather. Shirts were worn everywhere, but men from the Fergana Valley and Tashkent region wear a yakhtak, a wrap shirt. Both of these types were sewn from homespun cotton cloth and feature a moderate aesthetics in a form of a decorated miniature braiding- jiyak, stitched along the collar.
Belts for gala dresses were normally very smart, made of velvet or embroidered, with silver figured metal plates and buckles. Everyday shirts are tied with long sashes.
Women's traditional dress consisted of a tunic, pants, a scarf, and a coat. The long, loose tunic had wide sleeves reaching to the wrists. Loose-cut pants were often made of the same fabric as the tunic, or out of complementary fabric. The bottom of the pants was gathered and decorated with embroidered braid. Women's coats were similar to men's khalat.
For centuries cotton has been used extensively for clothing in Uzbekistan. Home-woven striped and white cotton were the most common fabrics for everyday wear. Textile patterns often included up to six or seven different colors in the typical geometrical or stylized floral design. Fabrics were brightly colored, in shades of red, yellow, blue, green, violet, and orange. The color of the costume was an important signal of a person's age or social status. Red and pink were common for girls and young women; middle-aged women were supposed to wear shades of light blue and gray. White was the most popular color and appropriate for all ages, especially for the elderly. Black, dark blue, and violet were colors of mourning.
Women and Men’s national headwear. Tubeteikas (Skull-caps):
Headdress is one of the main elements in the traditional Uzbek clothing. The national headwear in many countries of Central Asia, including Uzbekistan is a tubeteika (skull-cap). Tubeteika is derived from the Turkic word “tubé”, which means “top, peak”. Tubeteika is worn by everybody: men, women, and children. Only elder women do not wear tubeteikas.
Today it is uncommon to meet a man in the tubeteika in large cities, mainly it is an important element of holiday garments at family parties and religious celebrations. The common form of the Uzbek tubeteika is tetrahedral and slightly conical. Traditional men’s tubeteika is black and embroidered with a inwrought white pattern in a form of four “paprikas” and 16 miniature arches. An everyday tubeteika, “kalampir”, is one of the simplest and widely used cap, it’s importance must not be underestimated. This tubeteika is an essential attribute for some events even in the environment of a country-wide influence of the European culture. There are smart tubeteikas enriched with bright and colorful embroideries and patterns for special festival occasions.
Uzbek cuisine is one of the most colorful of Oriental Cuisines. You will get astounded to find some of Uzbek recipes to be centuries-old. They even have different traditional rituals and ways of cooking. There are about 1,000 different dishes including national drinks, cakes and confectionary products.
Uzbek «Pilaf» is a very solemn food. It can be considered as an everyday dish as well as a dish for solemn and great events like weddings, parties and holidays. Rice is the most important ingredient of pilaf and special spices, raisins, or peas will be added to give it extra flavor. However, locals believe that the best pilaf is always prepared by a man! Salads are also served along with pilaf.
Bread is holy for Uzbek people. This traditional belief started with a legend. As it goes, each new Governor would mint his own coins but the payment for local people who minted new coins were not the coins that were minted but…bread!
Traditionally Uzbek breads are baked inside the stoves made of clay called «Tandyr». These fragrant breads are known to be crispy and tasty. Even the greatest scientist of medicine, Avicenna used Uzbek bread to cure people of diseases.
A special importance is placed on soups. Uzbek soup is rich in vegetables and seasonings and contains lots of carrots, turnips, onions and greens. Two popular soups are Mastava and Shurpa.
Traditional Uzbek dance: arts and schools of Uzbek dance
National Uzbek dance is very expressive. It presents all the beauty of nation. The main difference of Uzbek dance from dances of other Eastern nations is the accent on complicated and expressive hand gestures and animated facial expressions. Uzbek dance includes two categories: classic traditional dance and folklore dance.
Classic traditional Uzbek dance is the art, studied in choreographic schools and demonstrated on a stage. There are three schools of Uzbek dance: Ferghana, Bukhara and Khorezm. Ferghana dances are differed with softness, smoothness and expressiveness of gestures, light sliding step, original motions. Bukhara dance is distinguished with sharpness of gestures, leaned back shoulders and very beautiful goldwork costumes. Khorezm style differs with original and distinctive motions.
Folk Uzbek dance includes traditions of almost any region and displays wonderful variety. People dance them on weddings and family holidays, rural and urban events. These dances are handed over from generation to generation and preserve ancient dance traditions as well as today and past lifestyles.
Culture, handicrafts and tourism are rapidly becoming inseparable partners. Local crafts are important elements of culture, and people travel to see and experience other cultures, traditions and ways of living. Crafts products form an important element of the purchases made by tourists, providing an important economic input to the local economy.
Applied art of Uzbeks has a wealth of variety when it comes to style, materials and ornamentation. Silk, ceramics and cotton weaving, stone and wood carving, metal engraving, leather stamping, calligraphy and miniature painting are some genres passed down from ancient times. Back in the past, each region had its own cultural and ethnic traditions the unique features of which were established by local guilds that have strengthened these characteristics through their art.
Uzbek craftsmen nowadays still practice ancient jewellery making techniques for cutting gemstones, grain filigree, granular work, engraving and enameling, also they are trying to take into account fashion demands and styles.
Embroidery is one of the most popular trends of applied arts in Uzbekistan. Every city of Uzbekistan has its own unique features such as ornamentation, composition, color range and stitching. The finest kind of embroidery, gold embroidery is still practiced in Bukhara.
The art of carpet weaving is also a very ancient form of art throughout Asia and the East, and nowadays it can be found in some of the cities of Uzbekistan today. The art of wood carving is used and adapted in modern interior design. Carved and painted tables, stools, caskets, pencil boxes and bookstands are popular pieces of furniture among local people and tourists. The art of Miniature painting and calligraphy has been revived again in its traditional form as well as some modern variants. For example miniatures stamped on leather, painted on paper miniatures, small lacquered boxes, framed pictures, pencil boxes and many other ideas skillfully painted by masters can be found in Uzbekistan.