Animals and Plants
The nature in Uzbekistan
Large parts of Uzbekistan are desert or steppe. Desert plants and many types of grass grow here. There is only forest on less than 5 percent of the country’s area. After all, Uzbekistan has 80 tree species.
Uzbekistan suffers from major environmental problems. The extensive cultivation of cotton and artificial irrigation have led to salinisation and pollution of the soil. The desert continues to expand, the Aral Sea is drying up and is much smaller than it used to be.
Which animals live in Uzbekistan?
Mammals are found in only about 40 species in Uzbekistan. They include, for example, red deer and goitered gazelles, brown bears, wolves and wild boars. Saigas are antelopes with a trunk-like nose. Snow leopards are also found in the foothills of the Tianshan Mountains. Caracals can be found in the desert.
Reptiles with around 60 species, fish with around 70 species and birds with around 400 species are significantly more common. Monitor lizards, lizards, snakes and geckos are, for example, reptiles. They deal well with drought.
Uzbekistan is the eighth largest producer of cotton in the world (2018). So cotton is the most important agricultural product. It is also an important element of culture in Uzbekistan. For example, cotton can also be found on the coat of arms. Cotton is mainly sold to China, Bangladesh, Turkey and Iran. It grows to 30 percent of Uzbek fields and brings in 20 percent of GDP.
Unfortunately, the large-scale cultivation of cotton and the artificial irrigation required for it has led to environmental damage, namely to the drying up of the Aral Sea and salinization of the soil. Because children were also used to harvest the cotton, some clothing companies have boycotted Uzbek cotton.
Another problem is that the state uses its officials to harvest cotton: teachers, doctors or even students have to go to the fields at harvest time and their actual work then stops. The men and women are housed in ramshackle barracks and are now doing forced labor – they are not here voluntarily.
And what else is being grown?
In total, a quarter of the population works in agriculture. It contributes 18 percent to total economic output. In addition to cotton, vegetables, fruits and cereals are also grown, especially in the fertile Ferghana Valley in the east of the country.
There is also the center for the production of silk, namely in the city of Marg’ilon. Mulberry trees stand here, on which silkworms feed. The silk threads are extracted from their cocoons.
Uzbekistan is rich in natural resources. So far only a small part has been dismantled. Copper, uranium and gold are among them and are exported. For gold, Uzbekistan is the ninth largest producer worldwide (2016), for uranium it is seventh (2015). Natural gas has also been produced for a number of years. A gas pipeline to China was built from Bukhara.
Problems of the economy
In addition to environmental pollution, soil salinization and the devastation caused by massive artificial irrigation, the Uzbek economy has other problems to contend with. Although only 4.9 percent of the population are unemployed, many more are underemployed. 14 percent of the population are considered poor.
Uzbeks prefer to go to the market for shopping. Everything is fresh there: fruit, vegetables, meat or herbs and spices. Often you can also see stalls on the side of the road selling, for example, Non, the round flatbread baked in a clay oven. The sum is used to pay. A sum is divided into 100 tiyin.
Many roads in Uzbekistan are not in very good condition. Most of the roads are paved, but there are often potholes. And cars too often do not have the safety standards that we are used to. You will look in vain for seat belts in taxis. Finally, the rule applies: whoever honks the horn has right of way! At least that’s how it sometimes seems
How the Uzbeks live depends entirely on where they live and how much money they have. In Tashkent, after a severe earthquake in 1966, mainly prefabricated buildings were erected. Older houses with three, four or five floors can also be found. Wealthy residents like to build huge palaces, often with bay windows, turrets and fountains. In the countryside, however, most people live in rather poor conditions. Small houses are mostly home here.
Children and School
School in Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, children start school at the age of six. You go to elementary school for four years. The secondary school comprises five school years, followed by three more years up to the Abitur.
95 out of 100 children attend school. The number is lower in rural areas than in urban areas and boys go to school more often than girls (96 boys out of 94 girls).
The school year starts in September. Wearing school uniforms is compulsory.
Eating in Uzbekistan
What do you eat in Uzbekistan?
Uzbekistan is known as a country with a multitude of recipes and thus also a variety of cuisine. Traditional preparations are often used. Rice is often on the table, as is meat, usually mutton or lamb. Many types of vegetables and fruits thrive here. The watermelons are famous because they taste particularly delicious. But pomegranates and apricots are also popular. The main meal is always taken in the evening. For more information about Uzbekistan and Asia, please visit businesscarriers.
Soups like the Schorba are particularly popular. It is similar to the chorba that people like to eat in Libya or Algeria. It’s a light soup made with mutton and small noodles.
You can drink green tea and, in summer, Ayran, a salty yoghurt drink.
Non from the tandoor
In addition to rice and noodles, bread is one of the staple foods in Uzbekistan. It is mainly baked as flatbread, traditionally in a tandoor oven. This is heated with charcoal and filled from above. The bread that is baked in it is flat and round and is called non. It is also sold on the street all over Uzbekistan.
What is plov
As in Azerbaijan, plov is a national dish. This dish is known in many countries. It’s a rice dish. In addition, you add various ingredients, so that a stew is created. In Uzbekistan alone, 500 plov preparations are known. Often mutton, carrots and onions are added. For weddings or other large celebrations, plov is prepared in a large saucepan.
Manti and other main courses
Manti are also popular as a main course. These are filled noodle bags. The filling usually consists of minced meat. They are cooked in salted water and served with a yogurt sauce.
Kebab is fried or grilled meat. Laghman is a dish made from lamb, vegetables and special noodles. Dimlama is a stew made with meat, potatoes and vegetables. You can find a recipe for Dimlama in our tip ! Below you can find pictures of many Uzbek dishes.