ABOUT UZBEKISTAN

GENERAL INFORMATION

Formal name: The Republic of Uzbekistan
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E
Area: total 447.400 km2: land: 425.400 km2, water: 22,000 km2
Land boundaries: total: 6.221 km, border countries: Afghanistan 137 km, Kazakhstan 2.203 km, Kyrgyzstan 1.099 km, Tajikistan 1.161 km, Turkmenistan 1.621 km
Population: 24 million
Density of population: 50.1 per one km2
Capital: Tashkent
Language Uzbekistan is multination country. Uzbek is the state language, Russian is the language of international communication
Structure: Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, 12 regions, 226 cities and districts.
Religion: Islam
Time: GMT + 05:00
Electric power: 220 V AC, 50 amp; standard two-pin plug socket
Domain zone: .uz
International dialing code: +998

Climate
The climate of Uzbekistan is extremely continental with a great number of sunny days. Average monthly temperature in January is from 10 to +3 0C. Summer is hot and dry. Average monthly temperature in July is from +35 to +45 0C. Autumn is warm enough and is the season when delicious fruits and vegetables are in abundance in numerous bazaars (markets).
Average annual temperature is 13 0C.

Public holidays
January 1 - New Year
March 8 - Women's Day
March 21 -
Navruz

May 1 - Labor Day
May 9 - Memorial Day
September 1 - Independence Day
October 1 - Teacher's Day
December 8 - Constitution Day.

There are other religious holidays with varying dates:
Ramadan Khait
Kurban Khait

Clothing
Very light and loose clothing is recommended for daytime use, with a light jumper and/or casual jacket for the cooler evenings. Because of a large amount of sightseeing on foot in dry, dusty and sometimes rough areas (i.e. dirt, cobblestones, etc.), comfortable, solid walking shoes with strong soles and support are essential You may be required to remove your shoes on entry to some religious sites. There are no special clothing requirements for visiting Islamic religious sites, except that you should take care to cover most parts of your body including arms and legs.
Above all travelers are encouraged to dress for comfort rather than fashion. Valuable jewellery and any clothing requiring special attention should be left at home.
Be discreet, respectful of local culture and traditions and carry the minimum of valuables.

Luggage
A shoulder bag with a strong strap or a small rucksack is the most practical way of carrying cameras and personal belongings during your stay

Your free airline luggage allowance is 20 kg per person plus one additional piece of 'carry-on' hand luggage on domestic flights within Central Asia, except Turkmenistan, where the maximum baggage allowance is 10 kg.

Health
You will be traveling in areas, which are largely free of major infection diseases, so there are no official vaccination requirements for foreign visitors. However we strongly recommend you to consult your physician of the Vaccination Centre for current health warnings and recommended vaccination.
As it is practically inevitable in the areas where water is high in mineral and metallic salts (as in the case with Central Asia) one should be prepared for minor gastric complaints. Consult your physician or pharmacist for recommended remedies.
Important: Please, ensure that you carry in your hand luggage any medicine you may require in case your suitcase is separated from you.

Shopping
Travelers in Uzbekistan will be pleasantly surprised by the interesting jeweler, clothing and local handicrafts. Books, postcards and maps are other popular souvenirs. There are restrictions on exporting carpets from the country, ask your Guide for detailed up-to-date information on this matter, before purchasing one.

HISTORY OF UZBEKISTAN

The culture of the nations found in the territory of Uzbekistan has a very rich history. In the 8th century the armies of an Arab caliph invaded Mawarannahr ("The Land Beyond River"), the territory between the Amudarya river, the Syrdarya river and the land of Khorasan lying to the south of the Amudarya river. This conquest brought a new religion that had risen in Saudi Arabia called Islam. At the same time, there was fire-worship and other religions such as Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity. Since then Islam has dominated far beyond this region and became an extremely important part of its culture.

Mawarannahr was one of the most advanced caliphate regions playing a significant role in social and cultural life. The Great Silk Road linked the West with the Orient and people from southern and northern countries passed through this land. The Mawarannahr towns of Bukhara, Samarkand and Kunya-Urgench were the crossroads of caravan routes from India, China, Egypt, Byzantium, Slavic countries and Arabia.

The House of Wisdom called "Bite ul-Khikma" founded by an order of the caliphate ruler Makhmud engaged in the great task to translate the books of Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes and other ancient Greek scientists and philosophers from classical Greek into Arabic. The Mawarannahr's brilliant young scientists, Musa Al-Khorezmi, Akhmad Al-Fergani, Al-Marvazi, Javkhari, Marvarudi and others, performed with distinction. Baghdad became one of the world's scientific and cultural centers.

The struggle for independence and freedom from oppression by the caliphate of the Central Asian region increased during this time and by the end of 9th century the first Samanid government with Bukhara as the capital was established. This government lasted until the end of the 10th century. During the 10th-12th century period different Karakhanids, Gaz-navids, Seldjukids and Khoresm-shakhs independent states appeared in Mawarannahr and Kho-rasan. In spite of continual wars to expand spheres of influence, this period appeared to be extremely important for the cultural and scientific activity of the region. The establishment of politically independent and autonomous states gave a good start, opening up great opportunities for regional economic and cultural growth. This time in history is known as the Oriental Renaissance and is noted for the unprecedented rise of ethical regulations.

It was the right time to bring in the ripe harvest of such bright philosophers as Abu Nasr Farabi, Imam Al-Bukhari, Narshaki, Makhmud Kashghari, Marginani, Nadjimmiddin Kubro, Abu Raikhan Beruni, Abu Ali Ibn Sino, az-Zamakhshari, and outstanding poets like Rudaki, Yusuf khas Khadjib, Akhmad Yassavi and Abu Bakr al-Khorezmi.

At the same time new Islamic religious movements appeared known for their free thinking, known as Mutaziliya, Ismailiya and Sufism. The towns of Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Urgench and Khiva became widely popular in Muslim countries. Crafts, architecture and construction progressed rapidly. At the beginning of the 11th century under the direction of Mamun Khorezm-Shakh, a new research center was founded in Khorezm, where leading oriental scientists worked. It was later dedicated to Khorezm-Shakh and became the first academy in Central Asia.

It was the time for Mawarannahr culture and science to acquire its worldwide fame. However, this rapid growth was rudely halted at the beginning of the 13th century. The Mongols invasion of the country by Genghis Khan completely destroyed all the cities, irrigation infrastructure and sources of culture over a 2-3 period. The struggle for independence to get rid of foreign conquerors occurred during the second half of the 14th century. One of the decisive elements of the struggle was the tireless activity of Amir Timur. Step by step he cleared the area of Mawarannahr and Khorasan from Mongol rulers and at the end of 14th century and a powerful state covering a large territory was established. Timur mainly stressed the strengthening of political power and economic and cultural growth. His main principles of state management were described in the document known as "The Code of Timur". After Timur's death, the Timurids paid great attention to the promotion of art, science, and culture.

Especially during the reign of Ulugbek, Shakhrukh and Khusain Baikaro, the culture reached its peak for the period of history and the towns of Mawarannahr and Khorasan were acknowledged worldwide, not only in the Muslim Orient but also in Europe. This was at the end of the second half of Central Asian Renaissance. Those great philosophers such as Ulugbek, Kozizada Rumi, Ali Kushchi, Mirsharif Djurjani, Djami, Khoja Akhrar, Luhtfiy, Khondamihr, Bekzod, Babur and many others were recognized by the world. Alisher Navoi lived during the 15th century and created his immortal masterpieces. One of the Timurids, Ulugbek was responsible for the construction of a scientific center in Samarkand, known as The Ulugbek Academy in different literary sources.

This was a time for building monuments and cultural facilities, for rapid growth of Uzbek poetry, miniature painting, manuscript art, and the development of numerous scientific directions within astronomy, mathematics, history and medicine.

But the internecine wars became more frequent at the end of 15th century and caused the breakdown of Timurid's state by the beginning of 16th century. Conquering Turkic nomads come from the north. But at the beginning of 17th century, a great-great-great-grandson of Timur and the ruler of Fergana, Babur invaded India and established a new state known as "The Great Mogul Empire". The Timurids ruled it until the intrusion of Britain into India.

From the 17th century onwards Mawarannahr experienced deep social and economic decay. However, during this time people like Makhmudi Azim, Karabaghi, Abdulgizkhan, Turdi, Mashrab, Nodira, Uvaisiy, Gulkhani, Makhmudkuli, Berdakh and others acquired personal fame for their treatises and literary work.

During the first half of the 19th century Muhammad Rakhimkhan paid a great deal of attention to history and literature in Khorezm, this was the time of Munis, Komil Khorezmi, Agakhi, Bayani and others.

During the second half of the 19th century the life of Turkestan was filled with great social, economic and political events. In the 1860's tzarist Russia began its conquest of Turkestan.

During this period there were anti-colonial reform-minded enlightened movements that influenced the cultural and social life of Turkestan. Based on the culture of local people the enlightened movements were headed by the scientists and poets, Akhmad Donish, Furkhat, Avaz Otar and Mukimiy to name just a few. Great changes are a feature of Turkestan culture of this period.

At the end of the 19th century Djadidizm appeared based in the enlightenment movement and began to put forward new education and enlightenment, social and cultural policies. Step by step the activities and work of well-known djadids like Bekhbudi, Firtrat, Abdulla Avloni, Munnavhar Kari, Khamza and others spread widely among the people. Magazines and newspapers, books and textbooks began to appear stimulating interest in and growth of the national historical and cultural heritage. This ensured significant growth of national consciousness, political and cultural maturity and a striving for an independent way of development.

SAMARKAND

Samarkand is situated in the valley of the river Zarafshan. It is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome.  The history of Samarkand is about 2,500 years old and has witnessed a lot of upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane's. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures.  Majestic and beautiful city Samarkand has a marvelous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it "Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries, The pearl of the Eastern Moslem World". Its advantageous geographical position in Zarafshan valley put Samarkand to the first place among cities of the Central Asia.

As other first centers of human civilization-Babylon and Memphis, Athens and Rome, Alexandria and Byzantium-Samarkand was intended to go through rapid events and shakes.
Samarkand history goes deep into thousand years. Archeological finds and annalistic proceedings of eyewitnesses and ancient historians allowed to establish with full reliability that a man had been living on the territory of modern city many thousand years ago B.C.
Special advantageous geographical location, comparatively cool climate, abundance of natural springs with fine water, “obi rahmat”-“mercy water”, nearness of mountains with large wild fowl, flowing near Zaravshan river - all these always provided favorable conditions for human settlings in that area, where strong walls, castles, majestic buildings and temples of Samarkand raised some centuries ago B.C.
In historical proceedings of ancient time the earliest mention about Samarkand-that was famous then as Marakand-related to 329th year B.C., in descriptions of eyewitnesses and participants of Alexandr Macedonian’s aggressive tours.
Already at that time Samarkand was a big city with crowded population, developed crafts, trade, and culture. He had unassailable citadel and outside defensive wall about 10 and half kilometers long.
With new archeological finds scientists concluded that Samarkand occurred much earlier than Greek-Macedonian winnings and already during the epoch of the state development of ahemenids (6-4 BC) was quite developed city. That is why the “age” of Samarkand amounted to round chronological data of 2500 years starting from the day of its birth on the forest hill of Afrosiab, though it is greatly older.
During its history the city saw half savage sacs and massagets on the streets, iron “flanks” of greek-macedonins, hordes of cruel karakitays, the city withstood destructive invasion of fanatic Arabic commanders-the followers of Islam religion founder Mohammed. Bloody hordes of Chigiz-han came down on its peaceful houses with fire and sword. Samarkand became the capital of World Empire ranged from Ind River to Bosfor with cruel Timur.
After Timur’s death all his empire goes to the power of his children and grandchildren. Samarkand and bordered to it areas devolved to the ownership of Ulugbek, Timur’s grandson. Ulugbek ruled Samarkand during 40 years. During the whole history Uligbek was the most peace-loving ruler. He almost did not participate in aggressive campaigns over ruling his state. He visited other countries many times but only for learning traditions, culture, and customs of those countries. He was great scientist, astronomer, and mathematician; that is why he brought many scientists from different countries for science development in his government.
In reality Timur’s grandson was called Muhhmad Taragay, and his grandmother, Timur’s wife, gave Ulugbek name to him because from early childhood he was very clever boy, and Timur means “clever, talented”; that is why in history Timur’s grandson mentioned only under the name Ulugbek.
Now Samarkand like most cities of Central Asia is a city divided into two parts: old and new ones. New part is an administrative part of the city where industrial and cultural centers, high educational institutions are situated. There are 5 institutes in Samarkand: medical, agricultural, architectural, cooperative, institute of foreign languages, and also State University that has 10 faculties.
Old part this is part where historical monuments, shops, small school are situated. Our entire excursion will be in the old part of the city.
Population of Samarkand is about 500 thousands. This is multinational city, more that 100 nations live in Samarkand. Samarkand takes second place in Uzbekistan by number of population and territory.

BUKHARA

Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan, situated on a sacred hill, the place where sacrifices were made by fire-worshippers in springtime. This city was mentioned in a holy book "Avesto". Bukhara city is supposed to be founded in the 13th c.B.C. during reign of Siyavushids who came to power 980 years before Alexander the Great. The name of Bukhara originates from the word "vihara" which means "monastery" in Sanskrit. The city was once a large commercial center on the Great Silk Road.

Bukhara lies west of Samarkand and was once a center of learning renowned throughout the Islamic world. It was here that the great Sheikh Bahautdin Nakshbandi lived. He was a central figure in the development of the mystical Sufi approach to philosophy, religion and Islam. In Bukhara there are more than 350 mosques and 100 religious colleges. Its fortunes waxed and waned through succeeding empires until it became one of the great Central Asian Khanates in the 17th century.

Bukhara with more than 140 architectural monuments is a "town museum" dating back to the Middle Ages. 2,300 years later, ensembles like the Poi-Kalon, Kos Madras, Ismail Samani Mausoleum and the Kalian Minaret are attracting a lot of attention. The city consists of narrow streets, green parks and gardens, historical and architectural monuments belong to the different epochs, but locate very close to each other.

KHIVA

Khorezm has a very long history, only a few civilizations could be compared with it. Hundred years before the Great Silk Road appeared, ancient Khorezm had had links with Europe and the East, with Siberia and southern civilizations. It is a cradle of three civilizations formed in Uzbekistan.

The Khorezm Khanate was very famous in the fourth century, BC. It was very powerful state. Fairy-tale like city Khiva has managed to retain its exotic image of an Oriental town in the older part of the city called Ichon-Qala. Ichon-Qala is a place where all the monuments of architecture are located. Among them there are the Kunya-Ark citadel and the Tosh-Khovli Palace, residence of the Khan, which had been preserved intact along with its ornate gates. Besides, Ichon-Qala displays simplicity and monumentality of medieval architectural forms, the delicateness of woodcarvings, and skilled interweaving of ornamentation. The silhouettes of its towering minarets, hemmed in by clay built houses with their flat roofs and surrounded by the fortress's powerful clay built walls, give a clear idea of a typical Central Asian feudal city.

Billed as an "open air museum" Khiva is more than 2500 years old with population about 40 000 people. It's located on the territory of Kyzylkum desert, 450 km. from Bukhara. In fact, Khiva is made up of Madrassahs, mosques and minarets such as the tall and beautiful Islam-Khoja minaret, plus having the most number of minarets in Asia, the most remarkable being the Kalta-Minor minaret (1835) and it is still standing. The Juma Mosque which has an amazingly 218 ornate carved wooden columns is another of the main attractions.

TASHKENT

In the centuries past, Tashkent, the present capital of Uzbekistan, was called Chach, Shash, Binkent at various times. Each of the names is a part of the city's history. Tashkent has always been an important international transport junction. Unfortunately, only a small part of its architectural past is preserved, due to demolition of historical and religious buildings after the revolution of 1917 and a massive earthquake in 1966. Some old buildings lie in the old town to the west of the downtown. A myriad of narrow winding alleys, it stands in sharp contrast to the more modern Tashkent. Of interest among the older buildings are the 16th century Kukeldash Madrassah, which is being restored as a museum, and the Kaffali-Shash Mausoleum. Many of the Islamic sites in Tashkent, like Khast-Imam structure, are not open to non-Muslims, and visitors should always ask permission before entering them.

Tashkent houses many museums of Uzbek and pre-Uzbek culture. These include the State Art Museum, which houses a collection of paintings, ceramics and the Bukharian royal robes. The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts exhibits embroidered wall hangings and reproduction antique jewelry. As important historical figures, such as Amir Timur - better known as Tamerlane in the West - are being given greater prominence, the exhibits and perspective of the museums are also changing.

Tashkent-the capital of Uzbekistan republic-is one of the ancient city appeared on the cross of the Great Silk Road from China to Europe.
First information about Tashkent as city settling is in the ancient east sources of the second century before A.D. In China sources it was called Yuni; in the inscription of the year 262 before A.D. of Persian king Shampur the First on the “ Caaba of Zoroastrian” Tashkent oasis was called Chach; in the transcriptions of some china sources the city also was called Shi, and in the Arabian-Shash. By the sayings of Biruniy and Mahmud Kashgariy, the name Tashkent was appeared from the Turkic sources of 9-12 centuries. In Russia in 15th century it was famous as Tashkura.
Already in the ancient times advantageous geographical location and favorable climate make Tashkent one of the main points at the trade road of “ the Great Silk Road”. In support of this suggestion by archeologists of Uzbekistan in the south part of modern Tashkent, irrigated by the Jun River, were found remains of the settling of city type-Shashtepa. Ruins of defensive armed wall, round citadel with building from the moisture bricks and pahsa inside it were discovered. Outside defensive wall of citadel included inside vaulted corridor and was designed outside with tower shape ledges, which means it was built taking into consideration fortification motion of its time.
The main square of the old city market-Chorsu Square-appeared in 9th century. Trade Roads came to Chorsu from all gates, transforming to market streets. This square was transport flyover and trade place.
In the 6th century Kukildosh Madrasah was built here.
Chorsu mahallya, Tikanli mazar, Chukur village were situated on the modern part of Chorsu Square. In the modern period Chorsu was reconstructed. GUM, Central City Drugstore, Chorsu Hotel and other constructions of modern architecture were built. Mahallya appeared around old squares and market streets, which in most cases were called by the activities of craftspeople.
For example, Padarkush Mahallya in Shayhantaur was called earlier “Buzchi Mahallya”, which means “block of weavers” (now it is microrayon C-13). There were others mahallyas near: on the north-Arka-Kucha, on the south-Dukchi, Zandjirlik, on the west-Pushtibag, on the east-Kudukbashi. Deroz Mahallya or Degroz in Shayhantaur got its name from “Degroz”-“founder of boilers”. Here were 20 cast-iron workshops. There was Ahunguzar mahallya in Sibzar daha, which means “block of farriers”, here were situated in big amount farrier’s workshops. And Tokli Jallob mahallya got its name because people there were trading cattle.
Since Tashkent was city of rich merchants and craftspeople big architectural buildings were mainly tied-up with constructions and design of caravanserais, mosques, and mausoleums.
The earliest buildings that reached our time are mausoleums, appeared along the caravan roads, they were devoted to saint sheikhs, and they were not only the places of worship, begging luck in life and trade work, but also original landscape, decorating long boring way on the desert roads.
In Tashkent City and along the routes to it remained some ten of such mausoleums

TERMEZ

Termez is located on the left bank of the Amudarya river and is one of the ancient cities of Central Asia. The city evolved throughout the history on different places around the modern city, reflecting multiple cultural layers depicted in remains of historical sites. The cultural heritage that was developed from the inception of the city was completely destroyed by Genghis-Khan in 1220, after the city refused to surrender peacefully. A new city was erected to the east of the old town. Rui Gonzales de Klaviho, the ambassador sent by Castilian King Henry III to Amir Temur, gave the best description of this new town: "entering the city, we were going so long crossing squares and crowded streets that we came home tired and angry. A new location, established in the XIX century, had been growing to the south of the late medieval location, closer to the Amudarya. Before it was destroyed by Genghis Khan, Buddhism played a considerable part in the ideology of ancient Termez for seven centuries I - VII (AD). Several Buddhist sites were uncovered during the archeological works around the city which remind about the days when Termez was one of the Buddhist centers.

CULTURE

Hospitality - Essential Part of Uzbek Culture
Hospitality is the essential part of Uzbek culture. People lived on the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and their lives highly depended on the business they conducted with foreigners that traveled from east to west and back, carrying silk, pottery and other goods. Anyone, irregardless of his or her nationality, is always treated as if he was sent by God. Besides, Uzbeks are a curious nation who like meeting people and they are always happy to guests of different nationalities.

Chaikhana
Uzbekistan is well known for its chaikhanas (teahouses), where men get together and spend time chatting and joking over a cup of tea. It is part of the culture that women take care of the house, including cooking. Uzbek men have good cooking skills and chaikhana is the place where they get together and cook pilaw (rice with meat and vegetables) or kazan kabob (fried meat with potatoes).

Bazaar
The Bazaar is a place of interaction apart from its primary purpose of buying and selling. The best part of the bazaar is the bargaining. People just love to bargain. If you visit Uzbekistan you should surely go to a bazaar and try your self to bargain. Its noisiness, variety, bright colors, hustle and bustle will leave unforgettable memories for good.

Cuisine
Uzbek cuisine is one of the most colourful 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 meals differ in appearance, and flavor. Some of them are prepared everyday; others are seasonal, depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients or to celebrate certain special occasions. The receipts below are supposed to give you an idea about what Uzbek traditional dishes are, so that you are prepared to order them when in the Uzbekistan .

Shurpa
2 carrots, 2 potatoes, 2 onions, 2 medium size tomatoes, 400 g turnips, 1 pod cayenne, 300 g meat (boned), 200 g bones, salt to taste. Wash and put the bones in a saucepan with cold water and simmer for 1,5 hours. Then sieve the broth, add the meat and all the vegetables cut into big chunks and boil till done. Add salt to taste.

Lagmon
is a rich spicy stew with chopped meat, vegetables and spices, poured over long hand-made noodles. The noodles can be eaten with a fork and the gravy with a spoon. Lagmon is served in individual bowls.

Mampar
is similar to lagmon. A spicy meat and vegetables stew poured over chopped piece of dough. It is served in bowl and eaten with a spoon.

Chuchvara
(meat dumplings) consists of small "packages" of minced meat, onion and spices in dough. This is boiled in tasty broth, served hot in bowls and eaten with a spoon. Sour cream or yogurt can be served together.

Pilov
1 kg rice, 150 g peas, 300 g meat, 300 g fat (or vegetable oil), 400 g carrots, 2 onions, salt and spices (zira, barberries, ground pepper) to taste. Wash sorted rice several times and soak in warm salt water for 2 hours. Washed peas (nukhot) are soaked in cold water for 10-12 hours before preparing the palov. When the rice and peas swell, proceed to prepare the palov: slice the onions in rings, cut the carrots in cubes, and chop the meat into 150-200 g chunks. Heat the fat in a cauldron with a spherical bottom, place the meat in and brown off. Then add the onion rings, mix them all the time, and braise on low heat. As soon as the onions begin to change color, plunge the carrots and soaked peas in. Pour water so as to be on the same level with the contents of the saucepan for about one hour till the peas become tender. Season with salt and spice. Pour off the water in which the rice is soaking. Strew the rice over the carrots in even layers. Raise the heat to a heavy fire and stew fiercely. From time to time turn the layer of rice over with a skimmer, making sure not to blend the rice with the carrots. When all the moisture passes off and the rice is done, pile it in the middle of the cauldron, remove the heat and close with a basin to stew well for 20-25 minutes. When done, mix the contents, dislodge the meat. Heap on a platter and serve with chunks of meat on top.

Manti
For the dough: 500 g flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 0.5 glass of water. For the forcemeat: 1kg lamb flesh, 400 g onions, 100 g fat tail, 0.5 glass of salt water, 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Work up the flour into thick dough, roll to form a ball and wait for 10 - 15 minutes. Cut the dough into balls about the size of a small walnut and roll thin to make round flat cakes. Another way is to roll the entire dough with a long rolling-pin to produce a thin layer and cut into squares (10x10 cm) add tablespoon of forcemeat and diced fat tail on each square. Fold diagonally and pinch corners and edges so that the manti are oblong in shape. Overspread the uncooked manti to prevent the dough from getting dry and frail. The forcemeat is prepared in the following way: chop the mutton into small pieces about the size of a small nut or mince with a big grating, add onion chopped or sliced into rings, ground black pepper and salt water. Combine thoroughly and press down with fingers. The manti are steamed. Grease the plate of kettle for steaming and arrange the manti on it so as to have no touch with each other. Splash cold water and steam for 45 minutes. Serve 2-4 manti in a plate per portion, pour broth and sour milk over or remove the manti to a platter and dredge with ground black pepper.

Samsa is a pastry with meat, onion and the fat of a sheep's tail cooked in a special clay oven called a tandir.

Shasluyk is one of the most popular foods served in Uzbekistan. It is marinated pieces of mutton (sometimes beef) and sheep's fat threaded on metal skewer and cooked over hot coals. There are many kinds of shashlik and most famous are meat and liver. Hot shashlik is served with chopped onion. Before eating, it is advisable to sprinkle some pepper and vinegar over while they are still hot.

The Applied Art - Uzbek Traditions
The applied art of Uzbekistan is a real cultural and historical phenomenon. It is well known because of Uzbek traditions. The beautiful architectural ensembles of Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Tashkent and Ferghana are famous for their pieces of applied arts. The attractive pieces are created by masters of wood-carving, chasing, lacquered miniatures, embroidery and jewelry plus all arts of Uzbekistan.

Now the applied arts are not only the ancient art introduced by museums. The local population admired superb production as in the 20th century many walls of the houses were decorated with embroideries, carpets, ceramics and carvings. Traditionally, embroidered carpets were of dark color.

In wood-carving Tashkent and Ferghana valley craftsmen are popular with their products of small tables, chairs, boxes, doors, and different souvenirs. Therefore, while in Uzbekistan, you will have a choice not only to buy souvenirs and gifts but also to savor the wonderment of Uzbek culture and heritage.

Culture: Uzbekistan Folk decorative Applied-Arts
The origins of Uzbek folk art are hidden in the depths of history. Numerous archeological excavations in rural areas have revealed new aspects of this ancient land and its culture. Uzbek applied arts have a large diversity when it comes to style, materials and ornamentation. Ceramic, silk and cotton weaving, stone and wood carving, metal engraving, leather stamping, calligraphy and miniature painting are a few genres passed down from old times. In the past, each religion had its own cultural and ethnic traditions; these unique features were established by local craftsmen who consolidated these characteristics through their arts.

Uzbek Ceramics
Uzbek Ceramics is very diverse in its color and design. It is also original in terms of shape. The most famous centers for ceramics are Rishtan and Gurumsay in Ferghana valley and Khorezm. They are renowned for their glazed white and blue ceramics. Another type of Uzbek craft typical for Samarkand is the art of making crockery, smoking pipes (chilim) and snuffboxes (noskadi).

Jewelry
Uzbek craftsmen of today still practice ancient jewelry making techniques for cutting gemstones, grain filigree, granular work, engraving, embossing, chasing and enameling. Modern jewelers not only uphold traditions, but also they take fashion demands and styles into account.

Culture: Uzbekistan Metal Chasing and Engraving
Since ancient times, the largest cities in Uzbekistan - Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand and Khiva, have been the centers for copper engraving based on traditional methods. Each region has specific shapes and designs. The most popular items of this art are jugs, teapots, and trays, and lately, washstands, band basins, buckets and large bowls. Copper embossed items were highly valued formerly and they are very popular today too.

Art Embroidery, Weaving
One of the most popular trends of applied arts in Uzbekistan is embroidery. Several places in Uzbekistan recognized for their embroidery are Nurata, Samarkand, Bukhara, Shakhrisabz, Surkhandarya, Tashkent, Jizzakh, and Ferghana. Each school is distinguished by its unique aspects such as ornamentation, composition, and color range and stitching. The traditional art of embroidery is still alive among Uzbek people. Embroidered cloths are widely produced in Bukhara, Shakhrisabz and Tashkent plants. Gold embroidery is the finest kind of embroidery. This craft has always been applied in Bukhara. The other ancient craft in Uzbekistan is weaving. Its richest historical traditions have stayed with us hitherto. Cotton fabrics and silks were in high demand everywhere all over Central Asia.
The mystery of making these invaluable cloths was unraveled here long before the Great Silk Road was established. The art of weaving still exists in Ferghana valley and, doubtlessly, handcrafted cloth is still preferred to factory woven fabric.