Mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Syr Darya (Sirdaryo), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west
Mostly mid-latitude desert; long, hot summers, mild winters; semi-arid grassland in east
Population: 28,661,637 (July 2013 est.)
Language: Uzbek (official) 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Muslim 88% (mostly Sunni), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country; 11% of the land is intensely cultivated, in irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of the population lives in densely populated rural communities. Export of hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas, provided 18.5% of foreign exchange earnings in 2011 and 35.1% in the first nine months of 2012. Other major export earners include gold and cotton. Despite ongoing efforts to diversify crops, Uzbekistani agriculture remains largely centered around cotton.
Woven rugs often cover the floors of Uzbek houses. Traditional folk art is a common wall decoration. It often includes subjects from the natural world, such as mountains, deer, or peacocks. Most homes have two or three rooms. Men and women have separate quarters. Outside the home stands a large platform known as the sura. It is used for eating and resting. A great deal of time is spent there during hot weather. In most homes, the kitchen is in a separate building.
Republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
US Military Presence/Support