Uzbekistan is the only Central Asian country
that has an ancient city culture. The capital of
Tashkent dates back 2000 years and Samarkand is
considered to have been founded around the year 700 BC.
One of the trade routes on the legendary Silk Road went
through the area that is today Uzbekistan.
When the Mongol ruler Timur Lenk (see Older History)
made Samarkand its capital in 1369 AD, the city was one
of the world's largest, with more than 150,000
residents. Samarkand became a center for Muslim studies
and had contacts with South Asia, the Middle East and
Timur Lenk's grandson, astronomer Ulugh Beg, built an
observatory in Samarkand. He calculated the location of
the thousands of stars and made a map of the starry sky
used by Chinese and European scientists for four
centuries. Also from the area came other famous medieval
scientists, such as the mathematician Musa Khwarizmi and
the scientist and philosopher Biruni, who, however, came
to work in Baghdad and Persia.
Latest population statistics of Uzbekistan, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
For many centuries the area was an Islamic center. In
Samarkand, Bukhara and Chiva, medieval Muslim
educational institutions and mosques are preserved.
The religious activity gave rise to a strong literary
tradition. The oldest Uzbek literature dates from the
1400s, when the poet Alisjer Navoi appeared. At that
time, people generally wrote in Persian. Navoi was one
of the first to write the medieval Turkish language
Chagatai. He is now regarded as Uzbekistan's national
call. His work received a renaissance during the
cultural liberation of the communist and
Russian-dominated Soviet era (1924–1991).
After independence, artists and writers have been
more free to choose their subjects and motives than
during the Soviet era, but the cultural workers must
refrain from anything that can be interpreted as regime
criticism. They should ideally portray Uzbekistan as a
modern, successful and happy country.
In the 1990s, older Uzbek literature was published in
new gifts, such as the first historical Uzbek novel
"Past Days" by Abdullah Qadiri, which was active in the
1920s and 1930s. Novels with motifs from Uzbek history
still occupy a prominent place. In poetry, Abdullah
Oripov and Erkin Vahidov are the most famous names.
Film production in Uzbekistan was for a long time
dominated by Russia. After independence, the country
could not afford to produce more than a couple of films
a year. The top directors include Zinovi Roizman and
Singer Yulduz Usmanova is known both in his home
country and abroad for his modernized version of
classical oriental music. Listen to her on YouTube.
There you can also see and hear President Islam
Karimov's daughter Gulnara Karimova, who in addition to
being a politician and businesswoman (until she fell
into disgrace in 2014) was also one of the country's
most popular pop singers.
Mirzijojev takes over as president
Fun cat Mirzijoev is installed as president. At the same time, new Prime
Minister Abdulla Aripov, who was previously Deputy Prime Minister, will take
Presidential election with given result
As expected, Shavkat Mirzijoev wins big over his three opponents in the
election of new president after Karimov. He gets 88.6 percent of the vote
according to the Election Commission. OSCE observers say they have found
evidence that ballot boxes were filled with ballots by officials and that in
many places people have voted for others. The OSCE delegation leader, the
Swedish diplomat Peter Tejler, says that "the dominant position of the state
authorities and the limited basic freedoms of the population have undermined
political diversity and led to an electoral movement without real competition".
Russian President Putin calls Mirzijoev and gives him "his warm
Mirzijojev is running for president
Mirzijojev announces that he is running for office in the presidential
election announced until December 4. He is considered a great favorite for the
No course change
In his first appearance as acting president, Mirzijojev says that Uzbekistan
will also not, under his leadership, form part of any military alliances with
other countries. He thus follows the same line as Karimov, who has kept both
Russia and the United States at arm's length and tried to take advantage of the
rivalry between the great powers. The motivation for electing Mirzijoev for
president was that he is the best guarantor of stability.
Mirzijoev becomes interim president
Parliament appoints Shavkat Mirzijoev as interim president since Senate
President Julda Dashev, who according to the constitution is expected to lead
the country pending re-election, said he supports Mirzijoev.
President Karimov is buried
The country's recently deceased President Islam Karimov is buried in
Samarkand one day after the death announcement. Present at the funeral are the
presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan as well as Russia's Prime Minister
Medvedev. The uncertainty about who will become Karimov's successor causes
observers to follow the funeral act in old-fashioned Soviet fashion. They note
that among those closest to the coffin are Prime Minister Shavkat Mirzijoev and
Finance Minister Rustam Azimov. It was Mirzijoev who was given the task of
leading the funeral arrangements, which in the Soviet era was a sign of a
President Karimov is dead
State TV announces that President Islam Karimov is dead. The death sentence
is preceded by several days of rumors that the country's leader has passed away,
with subsequent denials from the authorities. Parts of Karimov's hometown of
Samarkand are blocked off and the streets are cleaned up before the funeral.
Karimov, who turned 78, goes down in history as one of Asia's most brutal
leaders in modern times. Most notable was his regime when hundreds of protesters
were killed in Andizan in 2005 (see Modern History). The president's supporters
have said that limited personal freedom has been a reasonable price to pay for
political stability. In accordance with the constitution, Senate Speaker
Nigmatilla Juldashev is appointed acting head of state. New elections for the
presidential post shall be held within three months.
Dimmed Anniversary Celebration
The celebration of Uzbekistan's 25th anniversary as an independent nation
takes place in dimmed forms. Several heavy ministers are missing, leading to
speculation about how the country is headed. The official media does not mention
Karimov's illness, and a greeting from the president to the nation is read by a
"The president lives"
Rumors in Uzbek exile sources claim that Karimov is dead, but youngest
daughter Lola Karimova-Tilljaeva assures that he is alive and that public
support is helping him with the recovery.
Concerns about the country's future
The announcement that President Karimov is seriously ill - as well as rumors
that he is dead - are triggering concern in Uzbekistan and the outside world.
Karimov has led the country since independence in 1991 with such authoritarian
methods that no obvious heir to power has been able to emerge. According to the
constitution, the president of the Senate will temporarily replace the president
until the election.
The president is seriously ill
President Karimov is taken to hospital where he receives intensive care.
According to daughter Lola Karimova-Tilljajeva, he has suffered a brain
haemorrhage. His condition is described by the doctors as stable.
Telecom companies are fined for bribery
A legal investigation in the United States leads the Dutch telecom company
Vimpelcom to admit that it made illegal payments of about $ 114 million to an
unidentified official in Uzbekistan (it later emerges that the official is
Gulnara Karimova). Vimpelcom is ordered to pay heavy fines to authorities in the
United States and the Netherlands. The US Department of Justice is trying to
seize the money paid to Karimova.