Republic of Uzbekistan
CAPITAL : Tashkent (Toshkent)
FLAG : Horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and green separated by narrow red bands; white crescent moon and twelve stars on the blue band.
ANTHEM : The national anthem begins "Serquyosh hur o'lkam," ("My country, sunny and free,").
MONETARY UNIT : The som ( SOM ) is the official currency, introduced when Uzbekistan left the ruble zone in November 1993. SOM 1 = $0.00103 (or $1 = SOM 966.43) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is used.
HOLIDAYS : Independence Day, 1 September.
TIME : 5 PM = noon GMT.
Uzbekistan consists of mostly flat to rolling sandy desert with dunes. The Fergana Valley lies in the east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Aral Sea lies in the northwest. There is semiarid grassland in the east. About 11% of Uzbekistan's land is arable, most of which is under irrigation.
In 1996, 80% of the population was Uzbek. Russians constituted5.5%; Tajiks made up 5%; Kazakhs accounted for 3%; Karakalpaks for 2.5%; Tatars 1.5%; and others 2.5%.
Fishing occurs mainly in the Fergana Valley. The Aral Sea in the north (the world's fourth-largest lake) is too saline and becoming more so, especially since its water surface area has decreased by 33% since 1960. The total catch in 2000 was 3,837 tons, primarily carp.
Forests make up 4.8% of the total land area, mostly in the Fergana Valley and Zeravshan regions. Commercial forestry is not a significant part of the economy. Uzbekistan imported $37.2 million in forestry products during 2000.
Among the insurance companies doing business in Uzbekistan in 1997 were: GOSSTRAKH State Insurance Company of the Republic of Uzbekistan; JV, UMID Joint-Stock Insurance Co.; MADAD Joint-Stock Insurance Agency; and Uzbekinvest National Insurance Co. of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is government-owned.
Uzbekistan is a member of the Economic Cooperation Organization, together with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Uzbekistan has also formed an economic union with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Imports are subject to customs duties at rates ranging from 1% to 4%. However, excise taxes have been much higher, as much as 90% for imported liquor.
In 1989, 31.9% of all privately owned urban housing had running water, 11.3% had sewer lines, 21.1% had central heating, and 1.5% had hot water. In 1990, Uzbekistan had 12.1 sq m of housing space per capita and, as of 1 January 1991, 204,000 households (or 11.5%) were on waiting lists for urban housing. In 1996, it was estimated that about 90% of all households owned their own apartments or houses.
Islam A. Karimov and Leonid Kuchma have been president and prime minister of Uzbekistan since October 1992, respectively. A famous 20th century writer is Abdullah Quaisi, who wrote the historical novels Days Gone By and the Scorpion from the Pulpit , published in the 1920s. Quaisi was killed in the 1930s during Stalin's purges. Ilyas Malayev (b.1936) is a popular poet and musician.
Uzbekistan has no territories or colonies.
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