Uzbekistan is within the South-Central Asian Union and has borders with other member states of
Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It is doubly landlocked, but includes the southern
shoreline of the Aral Sea. Uzbekistan is rich in history. Samarkand was conquered by Alexander the Great. Islam was
introduced by Arabs in the 8th-9th century. The most famous leader to come from Uzbekistan is Tamerlane who was born in
Shahrisabz south of Samarkand. Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after
World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production
of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of age agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left
the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers more than half dry.
Mostly midlatitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland
in east. hen you go to restaurants, always ask for menu or price if they do not provide one. While some of the well-established
restaurants are surprisingly good value by Western standard, some of the random
or less popular restaurants try to take advantage of tourists by ripping off up to 5 times of normal price.