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    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

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UzbekistanUzbekistan's name may originate from a few sources, but all seem to focus on the root meaning leader. One possibility is that the name comes from the words uz and bey or bek meaning "leader of the uz." Another possible origin states that the name comes from o'z, meaning "self" and bek, meaning "noble." The final possible origin is that the country it was simply named after Uzbeg Khan, the ruler of the people in the early 1300s. What is known is that the ending stan comes from the Persian meaning "country" or "place of."

O‘zbekiston / Ўзбекистон


The way of life in Uzbekistan has changed a number of times in recent history, but not in the same way as it has in some neighboring countries. The Uzbek people have lived a very urbanized and settled lifestyle for hundreds of years so with the Soviet takeover, many of the demands the Soviets placed on neighboring countries were already a part of the way of life of the Uzbek people. Despite this, other changes enacted by the Soviets have led to cultural changes and political arguments since.

The early people in the region of Uzbekistan lived off the land as they farmed and raised animals, but they moved to cities early in their history and soon began to dominate trade in the area. With trade, and later the heart of the Silk Road passing through the region, the people gained new foods, clothing, art, building techniques, and other technology. More than these though, Islam was introduced to the people and this continues to be the most populous religion in the country today.

These early changes led to a very urbanized culture as the people became barterers and traders; many people having a shop as most goods and services were traded or sold as farming and living off of the land and animals became the responsibility of the few locals who had fertile lands and foreigners who the people could trade with.

The Russians, and later the Soviets, took control over the region in the late 1800s and early 1900s. While the Soviets were very aggressive in urbanizing the people in order to work in factories and other industrial positions, they wanted Uzbekistan for both its urban centers as well as for its farmland to feed the people in the Soviet Union as a whole. As there weren't enough Uzbeks to work in the factories and on the farms, the Soviets encouraged Russians to arrive to work as Uzbek culture was slowly replaced by Soviet ideals.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the people of Uzbekistan have been striving to get back to their traditional way of life as city traders and farmers. Unfortunately, a number of ecological disasters enacted by the Soviets have hurt farming in the country as the people are trying to re-discover who they are while attempting to get back to their traditional way of life. Unfortunately, this campaign has been interpreted by some governments as expelling Russians and other foreigners from their country, creating more tensions. However, many Uzbeks today tend to be working the same jobs introduced by the Soviets as industrial workers and farmers with little economic improvement in recent years. The future seems to be in flux as the past is heavily varied with only great monuments remaining to remind visitors of this great history.

Information for Uzbekistan was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks