It’s big, it’s (double) landlocked and it produces vast amounts of cotton each year. There are so many interesting facts about Uzbekistan but how many do you really know? It’s time to put your knowledge to the test!
Here are 5 fun facts about Uzbekistan.
Uzbeikstan is double landlocked
Yes, you read correctly. Not only is Uzbekistan a landlocked country, but the countries that surround it are also landlocked. This means that to reach a coastline from Uzbekistan, you’ll need to pass through at least two other countries. Extra fun fact: Liechtenstein is the only other country in the world to be double landlocked.
Uzbekistan is big on cotton
Cotton is one of Uzbekistan’s biggest exports. In fact, it accounts for 17% of the country’s exports and its cotton makes up 4-5% of the world’s overall production. This makes Uzbekistan the world’s seventh-largest producer of this staple textile. Because the fibre is so profitable, the government forces around one million students, government employees and doctors to pick cotton fields each year. Other major exports include gold, oil and natural gas.
It’s home to a shrinking lake
Uzbekistan is home to the Aral Sea, which was once the world’s fourth-largest lake. However, since the 1960s, the lake has gradually shrunk over time. By 1997, approximately 10% of its former 26,300 square miles had disappeared. In 2014, NASA images showed that the Eastern part of the Aral Sea had dried up completely. This portion is now known as the Aralkum Desert.
Uzbekistan is the world’s 56th largest independent state
Did you know that Uzbekistan is almost the same size as Spain or California? Measuring 885 miles from East to West and 580 miles from South to North, the country covers an area of approximately 172,700 square miles. Not only is Uzbekistan sizeable, but it’s also home to some of the world’s oldest cities including Samarkand, which is over 2750 years old.
The country has some unusual etiquette
Like most countries, Uzbekistan has some unusual etiquette unique to the country. One of these is that handshakes are only acceptable to take place between two men. If you’re greeting an Uzbek woman, you should bow down to her with your right hand over your heart. Another common etiquette is to run your hands over your face at the end of a meal to express gratitude, as well as placing the most senior passenger in front of younger passengers when horseriding.
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