A little information about the country that one intends to visit or that one has visited often allows us to put into context the past or future emotions specific to each trip. A little history or anecdotes are often welcome ... This is what you can find on this page dedicated to Uzbekistan. But nothing like (short) videos to get a more precise idea of the places visited or to visit. Beside is a list of the videos edited from the photographic material I brought back from the trip Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
You just have to click on the image to access the page giving more information on the place treated in the video and of course, to see this video ...
Former socialist republic of the USSR, Uzbekistan (the country of the Uzbeks) is located on the Silk Road. The country stretches from the Aral Sea (or rather what was once the Aral Sea and is now Aralkum Desert) in the west to the borders with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the east.
With just under 33 million inhabitants, Uzbekistan is the most populous of the countries of Central Asia.
Uzbekistan is a predominantly Islamic country even though the religion was the subject of repression during the Soviet era.
Brief history of Uzbekistan
The country has been inhabited for millennia by nomadic tribes including the Scythians who built important irrigation systems along the rivers. It is from this time that dates the foundation of cities like Bukhara and Samarkand.
The conquest of the country by the Mongols of Genghis Khan brought important changes in the 13th century and many populations were deported or decimated in unprecedented mass killings.
The golden age of Uzbekistan began with Tamerlan (Timur or Tamerlane), a bloodthirsty warrior who invaded all of Central Asia, Iran, the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and the steppes north of the Aral Sea. He also attacked Russia and China where he died in 1405.
If Tamerlan was a fervent follower of genocides and mass murders, he also had an artistic streak which commanded him to bring together the greatest architects in order to embellish cities with sumptuous palaces, mosques and madrassas. Astrologers and other scientists were also welcome in his empire.
At the start of the 20th century, Central Asia was in Russian hands.
The most visited cities are Tashkent (the capital), Samarkand (Samarkand or Samarqand), Bukhara and Khiva. In all these cities the monuments are so well restored that one wonders if they are really from the period or if we are in a huge amusement park.
Uzbekistan is a producer of gold, copper and uranium, and more surprisingly in view of the climate, of cotton. Did the Aral Sea dry up by any chance ...?