geografic area

Location: Central Asia, north of Afghanistan.

Access to sea: Country is encircled by land.
Note: border passes through Aral Sea (420 km. of seaside of Aral sea).

Neighbors: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E

    total - 447,400 sq. km.;
    land - 425,400 sq. km.;
    water - 22,000 sq. km.

Land boundaries:
    total length - 6,221 km.
    extent of borders with Afghanistan - 137 km., Kazakhstan - 2,203 km., Kirgizstan - 1,099 km., Tadjikistan - 1,161 km., Turkmenistan - 1,621 km.;

Coastline: 0 km. (not to count 420 km. of Aral Sea)

Terrain. Most of the territory of Uzbekistan is occupied by plains (near four fifth of the territory). One of the main is Turanian plain. In the east and northeast of country are situated spurs of Tien-Shan and the Pamirs, here is the highest spot of country (4 643 ?). There is one of the largest desert of the world - Kizilkums on the north of central part of the territory of Uzbekistan.

Geological composition and useful minerals. Entrails of the country contain spares of natural gas, gray and stone coal, gold, copper, tungsten, bismuth; opened oilfields.

Climate. Climate of the country is mostly middle attitude desert-continental. Difference of temperatures depending on times of year is quite significant. Average January temperature goes lower than -6?, but average of July rises higher than +32?. The amount of rainfall is little, that's why agriculture mostly depends on irrigation.

Internal waters. Majority of rivers of Uzbekistan are currently drying up, only Amu-Darya and Sir-Darya fall into the Aral Sea. There are several large artificial lakes in Uzbekistan, such as Chardarya reservoir.

Soil and vegetation. On plains dominates deserted vegetation, in mountains - steppes, wood, mountain meadows.

Animal world. Fauna of country highly varied: in the desert one can meet rare antelope Saygak and giant lizards, reaching lengths 1,5 ?. In mountains haunts a snow leopard and rare types mountain goats.

Mountain system. Mountains and foothills form approximately 1/5 territory of the republic. In the east dominate middle and high mountainous forms of the terrain: declivities or completions of mountain ranges West Tien-Shan (mountain ranges Ugam, Pskent, Chatkal, Kuramin) and the Pamirs-Alay (mountain ranges Zeravshan, Turkestan, Gissar, Kugitangtau, Baysuntau) are within the republic. To the south and west, they are gradually lower and move over to plains. Quiet big troughs: Kashqadarya, Surkhandarya, Zeravshan and Samarqand stretch between mountains. The largest intermountain trough - Ferghana hollow (valley) - 370 kilometers, and in the width reaches 190 kilometers. It is surrounded by the mountain ranges from three sides and open only from the west. Extensive Near Amu-Darya trough is on the border with Afghanistan.


Rivers and Lakes

Uzbekistan generally lies between the two largest rivers of Central Asia, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. These two roughly parallel rivers both have their headwaters in the mountains east of Uzbekistan and follow northwesterly courses toward the Aral Sea, a saltwater lake straddling the border between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Since the early 1960s the Aral Sea has shrunk to less than half its former size, and dry land has separated the remaining water into two main lakes. Uzbekistan's largest river is the Amu Darya. This river is formed by the confluence of the Panj and Vakhsh rivers on the extreme southwestern border of Tajikistan, near the southeastern tip of Uzbekistan. The Amu Darya traverses a course generally parallel to, and at times part of, Uzbekistan's southern borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, then turns due north through Uzbekistan's Qoraqalpogh Autonomous Republic toward the southern section of the Aral Sea. The Syr Darya is formed in the fertile Fergana (Farghona) Valley by the convergence of two rivers flowing from the east, the Naryn and Qoradaryo. The Syr Darya then flows westward through this valley and northern Tajikistan, turns north to cut through Uzbekistan, and enters Kazakhstan, eventually reaching the northern section of the Aral Sea.

Another important river is the Zeravshan, which flows westward from the mountains of Tajikistan through east central Uzbekistan. Before it began to be tapped for irrigation, the Zeravshan was the Amu Darya's largest tributary; now it dissipates in the Qyzylqum desert near the city of Bukhara (Bukhoro). Uzbekistan has thousands of small streams that expire in the desert, many having been emptied by irrigation.

Extensive canal systems, such as the Amu-Bukhara canal and many others built during the Soviet period, have greatly altered water-flow patterns. Artificial lakes and reservoirs have been created, many of which are fed by irrigation runoff. The largest freshwater lake is Lake Aydarkul, in northeastern Uzbekistan.


Plant and animal life

Uzbekistan's mixed topography provides divergent wildlife habitats. In the steppes the endangered saiga antelope can be found, as well as roe deer, wolves, foxes, and badgers. The desert monitor, a large lizard that can reach lengths of 1.6 m (5 ft), thrives in the Qyzylqum desert, along with a type of gazelle and a number of rodent species. The river deltas are home to wild boars, jackals, and deer, with a variety of pink deer living in the Amu Darya delta. The Turan (or Caspian) tiger is now extinct: The last one was killed in the Amu Darya delta in 1972. The endangered snow leopard, which has long been hunted illegally for its prized fur, lives in the eastern mountains. The mountains also are home to several types of mountain goat, including the Alpine ibex (characterized by enormous, back-curving horns), as well as lynx, wild boars, wolves, and brown bears.

A number of bird species are native to the steppes, including ring-necked pheasants, black grouse, partridges, falcons, and hawks. Eagles and lammergeyers (a type of vulture) nest in the mountainous regions, preying on marmots and mouse hares. Ducks, geese, and other birds migrate through the marshes of the Ustyurt plateau.

Plant life is equally diverse. Drought-resistant grasses and low shrubs cover the steppes, except in areas that have been cleared for crop cultivation. Ancient walnut-tree forests are located in the lower mountains, whereas spruce, larch, and juniper thrive in the higher elevations. Elm and poplar trees grow along riverbanks, along with dense stands of brush called tugai .


Natural resources

Only 10.8 percent of the land in Uzbekistan is arable. The richest farmland is found in the river valleys and the alluvial plains at mountain bases. Uzbekistan contains significant mineral wealth. Deposits of gold, uranium, silver, copper, zinc, coal, lead, tungsten, and molybdenum are mined. Uzbekistan also harbors large reserves of oil and natural gas.



Uzbekistan has a harsh continental climate. Four distinct seasons create great fluctuations in temperature over the course of a year. Average daily temperatures in January range from -6° to 2°C (21° to 36°F) and in July from 26° to 32°C (79° to 90°F), although temperatures can be much more extreme. There are also wide ranges of temperature between day and night. Precipitation is scant, and the long, hot summers are marked by drought, although the only truly arid region in Uzbekistan is the Qyzylqum desert. The wettest months are March and April. Snow is common from December through February, although snow cover often melts within a couple of days.


Environmental Issues

The evaporation of the Aral Sea is one of the worst ecological disasters in the world. The Aral has shrunk so much that it now holds only about one-fifth the volume of water it held in 1960. The shrinkage is due to irrigation withdrawals from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, a practice that began on a massive scale in the early 1960s as part of the Soviet Union's ill-conceived drive to increase cotton yields in Central Asia. Growing cotton in the naturally arid and saline soil in Central Asia requires excessive irrigationócotton is a highly water-dependent crop. More than half of the Aral Sea basin is now a dry, salt-encrusted wasteland. The region's ecosystem was severely degraded as the lake rapidly evaporated and the water flow became scant and intermittent in the two river deltas. Wildlife habitat has been destroyed on a catastrophic scale, and many animal and plant species have become extinct in the area. Windstorms pick up massive amounts of salt and sand from the exposed lake bed and deposit them elsewhere in the vicinity, mainly along the Aral shores, but sometimes as far as 400 km (250 mi) away. This has contributed to desertification, a process that transforms previously arable or habitable land into desert. The salt-laden dust storms, which also contain chemicals such as pesticides, have adversely affected human health: The toxic dust has been linked to respiratory illnesses and certain types of cancer.

Industrial wastes and the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture have contributed to the severe pollution of Uzbekistan's rivers and lakes. Contaminated drinking water is considered responsible for many human health disorders. Agricultural chemicals, including DDT, also have contaminated the soil in crop-growing areas. In 1992 the government established the State Committee for Environmental Protection. However, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have taken the lead in spearheading environmental initiatives, particularly in regard to conserving and protecting regional water resources.



Distances in kilometers between major tourist centers within Uzbekistan

Distances in kilometers between major cities within eastern cis




Central Asia's climate is extreme cold in the winter, very hot in the summer and very dry.

Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit lowland Central Asia (April - May, September - October). Travellers are advised to expect warm to very hot daytime temperatures with a drop in temperatures at night. Temperatures will range 20 - 30+ degrees day to 15 - 20 + degrees (night).

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max (°C)
Min (°C)
Max (°F)
Min (°F)


when to go

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September through October) are, generally speaking, the most pleasant times to travel. The weather is mild and in April the desert blooms briefly. In autumn it's harvest time, and the markets are full of fresh fruit. If you're interested in trekking the mountains, summer (July and August) is a better time to visit; at all other times the weather is unpredictable and there can be snow in the passes.



Railways   3,656.00 total km
Highways   81,600.00 total km
Waterways   1,100.00 total km
Pipelines   250.00 km in crude oil; 40.00 km in petroleum products; 810.00 km in natural gas

Uzbekistan is in advantageous position in terms of the development of international air transportation. Situated between Europe and East Asia, the country serves as an international center for transit passengers and cargo transportation.

The National Company, Uzbekistan Airways uses Tashkent Airport and 3 of the 12 regional airports for its international flights. The aircraft and airports are equipped with the latest technologies, providing international standard services for passengers and cargo customers.

In Uchkuduk, the center for basic mineral resource deposits, new airport building is being constructed. Currently, Uzbekistan Airways flies to more than 20 countries and has direct flights to New York, London, Frankfurt, Athens, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Seoul, Delhi, and others.

Uzbekistan has an extensive network of regional railways and roads/highways, which connects the country with Kazakhstan, Russia and other CIS countries. Most parts of the country are connected by road, and the road density is relatively good in the cities. Uzbekistan has the most densely saturated railway network in Central Asia, and its rail system consists of 3,380 km (2,100 mi) in common carrier service, and of which 300 km (186 mi) are electrified.


getting there

More regular international flights serve Tashkent than any other Central Asian city. Unfortunately it's also the least friendly airport in the region for first-time visitors; the arrival hall for non-VIPs is a distinctly grim and sweaty place. The airport is about 6km (4mi) south of the city centre.

Trains run from Moscow via Samara, across Kazakstan to Tashkent, or via Urgench, Charjou, Bukhara and Samarkand to Tashkent. It takes about 56 hours to get from Moscow to Tashkent by train. Bringing your own vehicle into Uzbekistan is a logistical nightmare and probably not worth the effort.


internal transports

Transport Uzbekistan has modernised its transportation facilities. The various regions of the country are connected by air, rail and road.

Air : The national airline is Uzbekistan Airway . Since the independence the airline has expanded its routes. It currently flies to Amritsar, Amsterdam, Athens, Bangkok, Beijing, Birmingham, Delhi, Dhaka, Frankfurt/M, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Osaka, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Sharjah and Tel Aviv.
Within the CIS, it also flies to Moscow, Almaty, Ashgabat, Bishkek, Kiev and other cities in Russia and the Caucasus. The Uzbekistan Airways uses the most modern aircrafts like Boeing 727, Airbus A-310, RJ 85, etc.
Uzbekistan is also served by few international carriers such as Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Armenian Airlines, Asiana Airlines , Azerbaijan Airlines, Belavia, Domodedovo Airlines, Iran Air, Pakistan International Airways , Perm Air, Tatar Airlines, Transaero , Turkish Airlines , Turkmen Airlines, Ukraine Air , Ural Airlines.
Uzbekistan Airways
flies to all the major towns and cities in Uzbekistan on a regular basis. Destinations include Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, Nukus, Termez, Andijan, Ferghana, etc. All domestic flights originate at Tashkent.
Rail : There are 3400 km (2113 miles) of railways linking the main cities of Uzbekistan - Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Urgench, Nukus, Termez and the Ferghana Valley. The Trans-Caspian Railway traverses the country. Tashkent is the central point for rail services for the whole Central Asia. There are two train stations in Tashkent - North and South. From here railway lines lead to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.
Road : A reasonably good road network serves Uzbekistan . The Republic has road connections to all the neighbouring countries.
Urban transport : Public transport is bus, tram, trolleybus and taxi. Tashkent has the only subway (metro) in Central Asia. There are regular bus services to all major towns in Uzbekistan .

Flying is the least edifying and arguably the least safe mode of transport in Uzbekistan. Domestic flights are seroiusly no-frills - you'll need to pack your own lunch - and have a long way to go before meeting international safety standards.

The bus is the best bet for getting between towns cheaply. There are long-distance coaches which run on fixed routes with fixed stops, and they're relatively comfortable. Regional buses are less comfortable and less reliable. Private minibuses cost more and go faster - often hair-raisingly so. There are frequent connections between Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand. Taxis cost a little more than buses, but can be more comfortable, and they're more likely to take you to out-of-the-way places.

Lower class train travel is the cheapest way to get around, which also makes it the most crowded method. Trains are slow, the windows are so dirty you won't get much in the way of a view, there's no such thing as a dining car and you run a reasonable chance of getting mugged.

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