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Visa information on Uzbekistan:

Background information on Uzbekistan:

Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include terrorism by Islamic militants, a nonconvertible currency, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.

The Lonely Planet reports:

Uzbekistan , in the ancient cradle between the Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya rivers, is the most historically fascinating of the Central Asian republics. Within it are some of the oldest towns in the world, some of the Silk Road 's main centres and most of the region's architectural splendours .

It occupies the heartland of Central Asia , sharing a border with all the other ' Stans ', which is one of the reasons why it considers itself the most important of the former Soviet Central Asian republics, and why it is increasingly fulfilling the role of regional gendarme.

It's incredibly frustrating for travellers that the republic with arguably the most to offer has the worst attitude towards visitors. Politically the old USSR is alive and kicking here, and for individuals not under the wing of the state travel conglomerate, Uzbektourism , travel tends to be an endless series of petty bureaucratic irritations and official hassles. Uzbekistan 's government likes its foreign visitors in the form of pre-programmed, obedient pods; independent travellers can expect to be on the receiving end of unwelcome official attention.

Factsheet Uzbekistan:

Full country name: Republic of Uzbekistan
Area: 447,400 sq km
Population: 25.98 million
People: 80% Uzbek, 5.5% Russian, 5% Tajik, 3% Kazakh, 2.5% Karakalpak , 1.5% Tatar
Language: Uzbek, Russian, Tajik
Religion: 88% Muslim (mostly Sunnis), 9% Eastern Orthodox
Government: Republic
Head of State: President Islam Karimov

GDP: US$59.2 billion
GDP per capita: US$2,500
Annual Growth: 1%
Inflation: 40%
Major Industries: Textiles, food processing, machine building, metallurgy, natural gas, cotton, vegetables, fruits, grain, livestock
Major Trading Partners: Russia , Ukraine , Europe , CIS, Czech Republic

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