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Uzbekistan Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Republic of Uzbekistan
Capital City: ashkent (Toshkent)
Language Spoken: Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%

Uzbekistan Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

41 00 N, 64 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Sariqarnish Kuli -12 m highest point: Adelunga Toghi 4,301 m

Land boundaries

total: 6,221 km border countries: Afghanistan 137 km, Kazakhstan 2,203 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,099 km, Tajikistan 1,161 km, Turkmenistan 1,621 km

Natural hazards

NA

Natural resources

natural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum

Land use

arable land: 10.51% permanent crops: 0.76% other: 88.73% (2005)

Environmental current issues

shrinkage of the Aral Sea is resulting in growing concentrations of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then blown from the increasingly exposed lake bed and contribute to desertification; water pollution from industrial wastes and the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides is the cause of many human health disorders; increasing soil salination; soil contamination from buried nuclear processing and agricultural chemicals, including DDT

Climate

Uzbekistan has an extreme continental climate. It is generally warmest in the south and coldest in the north. Temperatures in December average -8°C (18°F) in the north and 0°C (32 °F) in the south. However, extreme fluctuations can take temperatures as low as -35°C (-31°F). During the summer months, temperatures can climb to 45°C (113°F) and above. Humidity is low. The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+5

Population

27,307,134 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.9% (male 4,572,721/female 4,403,405) 15-64 years: 62.3% (male 8,420,174/female 8,594,478) 65 years and over: 4.8% (male 539,336/female 777,020) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 22.7 years male: 22 years female: 23.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

1.7% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

26.36 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

7.84 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 64.58 years male: 61.19 years female: 68.14 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.91 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business meetings are normally somewhat formal and suit and tie are expected. Most businessmen speak Russian, and a few speak English. Business cards are often exchanged at meetings. Appointments should be made in advance. Office hours are 0900-1800 Monday to Friday.

Crime

Crime in the city of Tashkent and Uzbekistan in general, while on the rise has not yet reached the levels experienced in many major western cities. Visitors are reminded to watch their handbags while touring crowded marketplaces or traveling on crowded buses or trams. Thieves have been known to cut handbags open with a razor blade and surreptitiously remove the contents. Visitors should also be alert for the ubiquitous "dropped money scam." One man will drop money on the ground and walk away. A second individual retrieves the cash and attempts to engage the intended victim in conversation, offering to split the proceeds. At this point the man who ostensibly lost the money returns, accuses the intended victim of theft, and demands redress, often at knifepoint. Several western women have been molested by intoxicated males while using public transportation and taxis, particularly at night. Western women are advised to dress conservatively, minimize the wearing of jewelry and attempt to travel in groups.

Hotels

Visitors are still required to stay in hotels that are licensed by Uzbektourism and most hotels are run by them. The main hotels in Tashkent are the Hotel Uzbekistan (tel: (3712) 336 244), the Hotel Tashkent (tel: (3712) 332 735) and the Hotel Russia (tel: (3712) 562 874). In Bukhara, there is the Hotel Bukhara (tel: (36522) 35004) and the Hotel Zerafshan (tel: (36522) 34067). In Samarkand, the Hotel Samarkand (tel: (3662) 330 127) and the Hotel Zerafshan (tel: (3662) 333 372). All other regional capitals have at least one Uzbektourism hotel that will accept foreigners. Services and facilities are not up to Western standards and security is often haphazard, but efforts are being made to improve them.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available, but calls from hotel rooms still need to be booked either from reception or from the floor attendant. The country code is 7 (3712 for Tashkent). International calls can also be made from main post offices (in Tashkent this is on Prospekt Navoi). Direct-dial calls within the CIS are obtained by dialling 8 and waiting for another dial tone and then dialling the city code. Calls within the city limits are free of charge. Fax services are available from major hotels for guests only. Post office hours: 0900-1800 Monday to Friday. There are a number of international courier services based in Tashkent, these include: DHL and UPS

Electricity

is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round 2-pin continental plugs are standard. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are standard.

Plug Types

C,F

Food And Dining

Uzbek food is similar to that of the rest of Central Asia. During the summer and autumn, there is a wide variety of fruit: grapes, pomegranates, apricots ? which are also dried and sold at other times of the year ? and, dwarfing them all, mountains of honeydew and watermelons. Uzbeks pride themselves on the quality and variety of their bread. In general, hotel food shows a strong Russian influence. There are a number of restaurants that serve both European and Korean food (Stalin transported many Koreans from their home in the east of the former Soviet Union, believing them to be a security threat). There is a hard-currency restaurant at the top of the Hotel Uzbekistan in Tashkent that serves Chinese and Korean food. Beer, wine, vodka, brandy and are all widely available in restaurants.

National specialties:
? Plov is the staple food for both every day and celebrations, and usually consists of chunks of mutton, shredded red and yellow carrot and rice fried in a cast iron or aluminum pot. There are dozens of variations of this dish.
? Shashlyk (skewered chunks of mutton barbecued over charcoal ? kebabs ? served with sliced raw onions).
? Lipioshka (rounds of unleavened bread) are served in restaurants and are often sold on street corners and make an appetizing meal.
? Samsa (samosas) are also sold in the street, but the quality is variable.
? Manty are large boiled dumplings stuffed with meat.
? Shorpa is a meat and vegetable soup.
? Strogan is the local equivalent of Beef Stroganoff.
? Pirmeni originated in Ukraine and are small boiled dumplings of meat and vegetables, similar to ravioli, sometimes served in a vegetable soup. National drinks:
? Tea is the staple drink of Central Asia, and chai-khanas (tea houses) can be found almost everywhere in Uzbekistan, full of old men chatting the afternoon away with a pot of tea in the shade.
? Shampanski, sparkling wine.
? Kefir, a thick drinking yogurt, is often served with breakfast.

Tipping:
It is usual to tip 5 to 10 per cent in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Restaurants in international hotels usually include service in the bill.

Nightlife
Tashkent has a variety of theaters that show everything from European operas to traditional Uzbek dancing and music. The Navoi theater, opposite the Tashkent Hotel, shows opera and ballet. The prices are low by Western standards; shows generally start at 1800. There is also a number of themed Western-style bars, restaurants and discos.

Entry departure requirements

* Please see visa & costs section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for six months after departure date required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of the CIS (except nationals of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan who do require a visa);
(b) transit passengers continuing their journey within 24 hours by the same or first connecting aircraft provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the transit area.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist and Business. Single-entry: US$40 (seven days); US$50 (15 days); US$60 (30 days); US$80 (three months); US$120 (six months); US$160 (one year). Multiple-entry: US$60 (one month); US$150 (six months); US$250 (one year). Group: US$15 per person (15 days); US$25 per person (30 days). Transit: US$20 (24 hours); US$25 (48 hours); US$30 (72 hours); US$40 (double-entry).
Note: (a)1. US nationals can obtain multiple-entry business or tourist visas issued for up to four years for a cost of US$100 and transit visas for a cost of US$25. (b) Visa applications are subject to a US$20 service charge (US$10 for transit visas). (c) Visa regulations within the CIS are liable to change at short notice.

Validity

Tourist visas are normally single-entry/exit and are valid for the duration of the tour. Business visas are multiple-entry, valid for six months in the first instance and extendable. Nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK can obtain a multiple-entry visa for tourist/business stays of up to one month; nationals of the USA can achieve such visas for stays of up to four years. Visas should be used within one month of date of issue.

Application to

Uzbek

Embassies

where they exist.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport valid for entire period of stay with at least one blank page to affix the visa. (b) Two completed and signed application forms. (c) Two passport-size photos. (d) Fee, payable by cheque in Pounds Sterling on collection of visa. (e) Pre-paid, stamped, self-addressed envelope, if applying by post. Tourist: (a)-(e) and, (f) Letter of invitation from inviting partners in Uzbekistan. Applications are usually made through a travel agent. Business: (a)-(e) and, (f) Business invitation from Uzbekistan giving details of activities to be undertaken and length of stay in Uzbekistan. This letter can be sent directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uzbekistan, who will then contact the Embassy directly, giving permission for the stay. Private visits: (a)-(e) and, (f) Letter of invitation from friends/relatives endorsed by the immigration department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Uzbekistan. Transit: (a)-(e) and, (f) Air ticket to onward destination.

Note

(a) Tourists (other than nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and USA, who also do not need to submit letters of invitation as part of their visa application requirement) will normally have their visa application completed by their travel agent. (b) A personal interview may be required before a visa can be issued. (c) Visitors staying longer than three days must register with the Ministry of Internal Affairs within three working days. However, most hotels will automatically do this on behalf of the visitor. (d) Before applying by post, applicants should first contact the Consular section of the Embassy (except for nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and USA).

Working days required

10. For nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and USA, allow two days.

Temporary residence

It is possible to apply for temporary residence. The government of Uzbekistan officially requires visitors to carry a medical certificate proving they are free of HIV, but this is rarely enforced.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone staying longer than 15 days

Departure tax

US$10. Embassies

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the UK

41 Holland Park, London W11 3RP, UK
Tel: (020) 7229 7679.
Website: www.uzbekembassy.org
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800; Mon-Wed and Fri 1000-1300 (consular section).

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the USA

1746 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1903, USA
Tel: (202) 887 5300.
Website: www.uzbekistan.org

Consulate General of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the USA

801 2nd avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 754 7403/4718.
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 1000-1300; Thurs (collection of documents only).

Travelers should avoid all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorized crossing points.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan. Travelers should be aware of the potential risk of indiscriminate attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. Travelers should be particularly vigilant in public places and should pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/uzbekistan

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Uzbekistan.html

Currency

Uzbek Sum (UZS) = 100 tiyn. Notes are in denominations of UZS1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of UZS50, 25, 10, 5 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 tiyn.

Currency restrictions

The import of foreign currency is unlimited, but should be declared on arrival. Travelers importing sums in excess of US$1000 may be subject to a body search. The export of foreign currency is permitted. Travelers who have imported sums in excess of US$2000 are required to provide proof of lawful exchange into Sum, otherwise a fine of 30 per cent of the amount imported will be payable. The import and export of local currency is unlimited.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1800. Some banks open Sat 0900-1500.

Currency exchange

Tourists and businesspeople without special status have to pay for hotels, hotel services and transport in hard currency; US Dollars are the most widely acceptable. All bills are normally settled in cash. It is illegal to change money on the black market and penalties can be harsh. Banks and the currency exchange bureaux in major hotels will change at the official rates.

Credit cards

Acceptable in some of the major hotels in tourist centers. Uzbekistan has said that it intends to introduce its own Visa card in the near future.

Travellers cheques

Limited acceptance.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Andijan(8)74+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Bukhara(8)65+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Fergana(8)73+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Gulistan(8)67+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Jizak(8)72+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Karakalpakstan(8)61+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Karshi(8)75+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Khorezm(8)62+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Namangan(8)69+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Navoi(8)79+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Samarkand(8)66+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Surkhandaria(8)76+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Tashkent(8)71+ 7 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in Uzbekistan as the standards of care are low and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available the quality cannot be guaranteed

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Medical care in Uzbekistan is below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

CDC reports a severe shortage of vaccines to combat diseases such as measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis - along with increased incidence of those diseases. Diphtheria occurs. Cases predominantly occur in urban areas, but increasing numbers have been reported in rural areas. Shortages of vaccine, antibiotics and diphtheria antitoxin are contributing to the problem. While proof of diphtheria immunity is not required for travel, travelers to areas where diphtheria is occurring should be up-to-date for diphtheria immunization. AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hikers should take protective measures against ticks.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Hemorrhagic fever (Crimean-Congo) - occurs Leishmaniasis (visceral) - prevalent Sandfly fever - prevalent Tick-borne relapsing fever - common Typhus - common Food-borne and water-borne illness: many are common throughout the area, in particular cholera and other watery diarrheas, the dysenteries, typhoid fever, viral hepatitis, and helminthic (parasitic worm) infections. Brucellosis - common Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Trachoma - common Rabies - occurs

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for anyone staying more than 15 days. Long-term visitors must renew HIV certificates after the first 3 months in Uzbekistan and annually thereafter. Foreign test results are accepted under certain conditions. Contact Uzbekistan's embassy for details.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Tashkent International Medical Clinic6 Minglar Street Tashkent 700015

Media

Press freedom is guaranteed and a constitutional ban on censorship exists, but these are frequently ignored in Uzbekistan, where the state maintains a tight grip on the media. International media rights bodies have reported that the use of violence against journalists and disinformation by the authorities are commonplace. Pre-publication self-censorship remains widespread. Following deadly unrest in Andijan in 2005, journalists were expelled from the area and foreign TV news broadcasts were blocked. Private TV and radio stations broadcast alongside state-run networks. Foreign channels operate via cable TV, which is widely available.
Press: There are no independent daily newspapers in Uzbekistan. The main editions are published in Tashkent and include Khalk Suzi and Narodnoye Slovo (in Russian and Uzbek), Hurriyat (published by a Government agency) and Uzbekistan Ovizi.
TV: Uzbek State Television and Radio Company operates two networks. Private channels include MTRK, Bekabad TV, Samarkand TV and Orbita TV.
Radio: The Uzbek State Television and Radio Company operates state-run radio services. Private stations include Oriat FM, Uzbegim Taronasi and Radio Grand.

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