Uzbekistan - General Information

State form: Republic of Uzbekistan
Independence: 1st September 1991
National anthem: O'zbekiston Respublikasining Davlat Madhiyasi
Capital: Tashkent (2.7 million inhabitants)
Official language: Uzbek (Russian: interethnic communication)
Administrative divisions (viloyat) and autonomous republic: Tashkent, Andijan, Bukhara, Ferghana, Djizak, Namangan, Navoi, Kashkadaria, Samarkand, Syr Darya, Sourkhan-Daria, Khorezm, Republic of Karakalpakistan
Area: 447 400 km²
Timezone: UTC+5
Highest point: Khazret Sultan 4,643 m of alt.
Population: 29.6 million inhabitants
Density of population: about 60 hab./km²
Religion: Muslims (90%), Orthodox (9%)
National currency: Som (UZS)
Constitution: December 8, 1992
National holiday: September 1st
Calling code: 00998
Economy: Mineral resources (natural gas, oil, uranium, copper); Agriculture (cotton, fruit, rice, alfalfa, vines, cereals etc), sheep and cattle farming, sericulture (silkworms)

Neighboring countries:
North and West: Kazakhstan
South: Afghanistan
Southeast: Tajikistan
Southwest: Turkmenistan
To the east: Kyrgyzstan


USEFUL INFORMATION

Passport and visa:
A tourist visa can be obtained from the Consulate of Uzbekistan in Paris or through our agency. For this, you will need a passport valid for at least 3 months, a recent photo, as well as the completed visa form. The cost is CHF 170 | 130 €, including administrative costs.

Customs:
The import and export of foreign currency are unlimited, but it is essential to complete a declaration form in all cases. The export of antiques (older than 75 years) is prohibited. It is necessary to list medicines in the customs declaration that each traveler must present when entering and leaving the country. The form must be completed in duplicate, one for Customs on arrival and the other can be submitted upon departure. If the imported money is more than $ 5,000, a 2% tax will be levied on the entire amount. The import and export of the local currency in cash are limited to 272,000 Som (about 274 USD). Persons over the age of 16 are allowed to take 1000 cigarettes or 1000 grams of tobacco products, up to 1.5 liters of alcoholic beverages and two liters of wine, perfume in appropriate quantities for personal use and other personal goods, the value of which does not exceed $ 10,000. Imports of drugs and strong medications (drugs must have a prescription confirming the need for their application), weapons and ammunition, photos, printed documents and videos against the political system of Uzbekistan or the rules of Islam are strictly prohibited. For animals, a special permit for their import is important. All valuable goods (jewelry, cameras and videos, computers, etc.) must be declared at Customs. For the export of metals and precious stones, furs, weapons and ammunition, artistic and historical values (all objects that were manufactured more than 100 years ago) you need a special permit from the Ministry of Culture of the country.

Money:
The currency of Uzbekistan is the SOM (CYM). Introduced in 1994, today it is the only means of payment in the country. Banknotes in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 SOM are currently in circulation. They differ by their color and represent various cultural and historical monuments. Since 2004, Uzbek Som is a convertible currency. The exchange offices are mainly located at airports, large supermarkets, hotels, banks, and visa and district registration offices. Most exchange offices in the city accept only Euro and US dollars. Other foreign currencies can be exchanged at the exchange offices or in banks. It is recommended to have cash on arrival to pay for the first service at the airport.
Current exchange rate "http://www.oanda.com/lang/fr/"


Communication:

In the capital Tashkent, there are several internet cafes that offer a fast Wi-Fi connection. You can use the Internet in telephone and telegraph offices as well as in post offices. Wi-Fi is available at most hotels and restaurants, especially in Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara. Cellular communication is developing pretty fast. The most popular mobile operators are Ucell and Beeline. SIM cards are available in every mobile office. Roaming is available to subscribers of the major providers. The tourists also have the opportunity to make international calls in post offices.

Climate:
In Uzbekistan, the climate is continental, characterized by dry weather, hot summers and very cold winters. In summer, the average temperature is around 25°C, with a peak in July, towards Termez at more than 30 °C, and in winter around - 10 °C on average, in some regions a temperature can reach -35 °C.
The best seasons for traveling are autumn and spring, during which the plains are the most beautiful. For the mountains, the months of May to August are the most suitable for hiking and climbing.

Traditions and customs:
When entering mosques, temples or other places of religious importance, you must take off your shoes, wear proper clothes and headscarves. The shoes have to be taken off, even if you enter a house. The traditional greeting (salam) resembles a handshake with both hands. When eating only the right hand is used, this also applies if you give or take something.

Despite the widespread use of modern clothing, the traditions of Uzbek national costume are permanently preserved in Uzbekistan. The traditional Uzbek headgear is colorfully painted and embroidered cap called Tüppi. The costumes of the bride and groom are especially artistically designed. As in most Central Asian countries, hospitality is as it was innate to locals. A traveler can be invited to eat and spend the night for several days.

Cuisine:
The Uzbek national dish is called "plov", lamb mixed with rice and garnished with vegetables, raisins, and spices. It is prepared differently depending on the region and is also popular in other Central Asian countries. Other local dishes in the region include shish kebab or kebab, small lamb, beef, and chicken or chicken liver skewers, which are usually garnished with raw onions. Manties: a kind of big ravioli cooked in steam. Try the meat and vegetable soup ''chorba'' or "samsas": meat or vegetable donuts similar to the Indian "samosas" dumplings. Also try the big, crispy bread that is sold everywhere. Green or black tea is recommended for any time of the day, which you can enjoy in peace in the ''chaichanas'' (teahouses), shielded from the blazing sun.

Public holidays:
January 1: New Year
January 14: New Year (orthodox)
March 8: Women's Day
March 21: New Year (Zoroastrian)
April: Easter (orthodox)
May 2: Birthday of the Prophet
May 9: Victory Day
September 1st: Independence Day
December 8: Constitution Day
December 31st: Lamb Festival

QAmong the most interesting events in Samarkand is the international music festival "Sharq Taronlari (Rhythms of the East)". This festival is held every two years since 1997. You will get a lasting impression of the traditional music art of the peoples of Uzbekistan or the countries of Central Asia. More than 400 musicians, composers and singers from fifty countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and America are involved in the festival's musical competition. The venue for the festival concerts is the historic Registan Square.

Public transport:
At the moment, there are no routes connecting major cities. You will need to combine trips by plane and bus or fly via Tashkent. The train journey is long, but always rich in encounters, if you have time. The bus is the most convenient and cheapest way to travel between two cities. There is a network of long-distance buses, quite comfortable and stop at specific places. Regional buses are less comfortable and less reliable. Private minibusses are more expensive but faster (sometimes too much!).

Health:
No compulsory vaccination. Remember to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio and typhoid. Diseases can quickly spread because of the hot weather. It is recommended to drink mineral water. Outbreaks can occur because of high temperatures. It is recommended to drink bottled mineral water.

Security:
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is still not recommended to travel in the mountainous and border areas of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (risk of Islamist infiltration, a danger of anti-personnel mines explosion in some border areas). Almost entire Surkhandarya province (south-eastern province bordering Afghanistan and part of Tajikistan) is closed to foreign tourists.
The usual precautions should be taken in tourist cities and markets ("bazaars") where pickpockets can be found.

Shopping:
In most markets of Central Asia, one may find a great assortment of spices and herbs and magnificent silks in bright colors. Carpets are an essential part of everyday life in Uzbekistan. All are hand woven and often of high quality; some are imported from neighboring Turkmenistan. Normally you will need to obtain an export license to buy a rug, issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. You may purchase beautiful silver jewelry, which is partially decorated with gemstones, but beware of copies. Instead, choose jewelry with semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli or chiseled silver.

Useful phone numbers:
Firefighters: 01
Police: 02
Emergency medical service: 03
Number of the telecommunications company: 8123
Information Service: (998 71) 283 36 32
Airport Information: (998 71) 140 28 0

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