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Preface Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Speak of Uzbekistan, and the ancient Silk Road comes to mind. Redolent with history and legend are three of that eastern trade route’s most famous stops—Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva—all within Uzbekistan’s borders. Alexander the Great married Roxanna, a local chieftain’s daughter, outside of Samarkand on his way to India in the 4th century BC. In 1220, Genghis Khan at the head of a great Mongol army destroyed everything in his path, virtually obliterating Bukhara. Timur, or Tamarlane, as he is known in Western history books, established a warrior’s reputation as fearless and fearsome as Genghis Khan’s. In his spare time he transformed Samarkand into the cultural capital of the world and established the greatest empire of the 14th century. His grandson, Ulugbek, helped found the modern science of astronomy, and his grandson Bobur, went to India to establish the Mogul Empire. Alisher Navoi, commonly regarded as the greatest Uzbek writer, wrote in both Persian and Uzbek and is as highly venerated in Uzbekistan as Shakespeare is in Britain.

Russian incursions into central Asia began in the mid‑1800s. The power of traditional entities such as the Khanates of Kokand and Khiva and the Emirate of Bukhara waned as Imperial Russia strengthened its grip. In the wake of the October Revolution, the Red Army enforced Bolshevik control. The conservative, traditionalist Basmachi movement offered fierce resistance.

Total Soviet control came in the 1930s with the imposition of collectivization and a culture of repression; many perished in the purges, and others fled abroad. In Stalinist times, Soviet authorities resettled displaced and deported peoples from other parts of the U.S.S.R. in Uzbekistan, including Ukrainian Kulaks, Crimean Tatars, Volga Germans, Koreans, Meskhetian Turks, Armenians, and others.

Moscow used Uzbekistan as a resource base, promoting a cotton monoculture and shipping natural resources to Russia for processing. During these years, Uzbekistan had one of the lowest levels of per capita income among Soviet Republics. In the wake of the failed Moscow coup attempt in August 1991, Uzbekistan declared its independence.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Located between the Amu Darya (Oxus) and Syr‑Darya (Jaxarteo) Rivers, Uzbekistan lies at the heart of central Asia. Along its borders are Afghanistan to the south, Turkmenistan to the west and south, Kazakhstan to the north, and Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to the east. Aside from Liechtenstein, Uzbekistan is the world’s only other doubly landlocked country. Covering an area of 500,000 square kilometers, Uzbekistan is roughly the size of California. Most of the country is desert (the Kyzylkum and the Karakum) or irrigated steppe, but it has rugged mountains in the east (a branch of the Tien Shan range), as well as semi‑arid grassland. Only nine percent of Uzbekistan’s land is arable. The area has a severe continental climate that is dry and hot in summer and cool and wet in winter. In the long summer, daytime temperatures often reach or surpass 40°C (104°F), but humidity is low. During the short winter, daytime temperatures usually stay above freezing, but can dip well below, and snow is not unusual. Spring and fall are the most comfortable seasons. In all seasons, the differences between daytime and nighttime temperature and humidity are much greater than in most parts of the U.S.

Population Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Uzbekistan has an estimated population of 24 million people (also comparable to California). Of these, about 19 million are ethnic Uzbeks and between 1 and 2 million are Russian. The rest of the population is made up of Tajiks, Tatars, Kazakhs, and Karakalpaks, along with more than 100 other ethnic groups. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the country, particularly the Fergana Valley, and in the parts of the desert made habitable by heavy irrigation. Life expectancy for Uzbeks is 64.1 years, the literacy rate is 97%, the infant mortality rate is high at 71 deaths per 1,000, and the fertility rate is 2.87 children per woman. The per capita GDP is very low at $2,500.

Language. The Uzbeks (as well as the Karakalpaks, Kazakhs, Turkmen, and Tatars) are a Turkic people and speak a Turkic language. The language and culture in Uzbekistan have also been strongly influenced by the Mongols and Persians (Iranians, Tajiks). The Uzbek language employed Arabic script until 1929 and then the Latin alphabet for a decade, but from 1940 until the present, it has been written in Cyrillic. Following an order by the Supreme Soviet, the language is in the process of transition back to the Latin alphabet. Although Uzbek is the official language, Russian is also widely spoken in the cities, particularly among the educated elite and government officials. In the countryside, Russian is hardly spoken at all.

Aral Sea Crisis. The Aral Sea lies between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in a vast geological depression, fed by the Amu Darya and Syr‑Darya Rivers, with no outlet. Before its drastic decline, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest inland water lake in the world. In the past 40 years, the Aral Sea has lost 73% of its volume and 50% of its previous surface area; its level has dropped nearly 50 feet, splitting it in two. Its salinity has increased threefold. What little water is left of the two rivers after massive irrigation of the desert, is poisoned by the excessive use of chemicals, much of which enters the rivers upstream, a by‑product of growing cotton and rice. The desiccation of the Aral Sea has wiped out its fishing industry and destroyed nearby ecosystems. Respiratory diseases and mortality rates are steadily increasing in the surrounding areas because toxic herbicides and pesticides used by Soviet agricultural programs lie exposed on the seabed by dropping water levels, dried by the sun, and spread by the wind. According to the United Nations Environment Program, in terms of its ecological, economic, and social consequences, the Aral Sea is one of the most staggering disasters of the 20th century.

Restoring the Aral Sea to its predisaster (1960) conditions is generally considered impossible, given expanding populations and pressures for increased agricultural production.

All five republics of central Asia depend on the two river systems, but Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan depend heavily upon existing allocations of water. International and regional efforts to stabilize the ecological situation on the basis of available river flows and more efficient irrigation techniques will take years to achieve, so international assistance also focuses on the health problems among those living near the Aral Sea.

Karakalpakstan. Spanning the Delta of the Amu Darya and comprising nearly one‑third of the territory of Uzbekistan, Karakalpakstan is an autonomous republic within the Republic of Uzbekistan. Karakalpakstan has its own legislature and executive branches, as well as its own constitution, but its autonomy does not apply in areas such as foreign affairs, defense, or security. About 1.2 million people live in Karakalpakstan, one‑third of them Karakalpaks, who are closer ethnically and linguistically to Kazakhs than to Uzbeks. Karakalpakstan has borne the brunt of the ecological damage associated with the Aral Sea disaster.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Inherited from the Soviet Union when Uzbekistan declared independence on September 1, 1991, Uzbekistan’s political institutions are gradually evolving away from their Soviet models. A new constitution was adopted in December 1992, and a new parliamentary election law passed a year later provided the basis for electing a new parliament, the Oliy Majlis, which met for the first time in February 1995. The constitution provides for a strong president; in addition, opposition parties and public criticism of the President have been suppressed. Originally elected for 5 years in December 1991, President Karimov was re‑elected in 2000, after a March 1995 referendum extended his first term by 4 years. While many Soviet laws are still valid, they are steadily being replaced by new ones, and even some of the new laws (especially those affecting business) have been revised. Radical changes are rare but the changes in public life are continuous and cumulative.

Economy. Uzbekistan’s economy remains primarily agricultural, based on extensive irrigation. The Soviet Government decided that Uzbekistan would be the U.S.S.R.’s principal cotton‑producing center, and cotton remains Uzbekistan’s primary crop. Uzbekistan is the world’s fourth largest producer and second largest exporter of cotton. Silk is also an important agricultural product. The country grows many other foodstuffs, primarily fruits and vegetables. Uzbekistan, however, imports large quantities of wheat, sugar, oil, and manufactured consumer goods.

Uzbekistan is also a major producer of minerals, such as gold and uranium, and is self‑sufficient in natural gas. Industry in Uzbekistan includes an aircraft manufacturing plant, a major oil refinery, agricultural machinery factories, plants for other machine building, textile mills, and other processing and consumer goods manufacturing. Potentially large reserves of oil have been discovered in the Fergana Valley and in the south. The largest U.S. investment in Uzbekistan so far has been by Newmont Mining Co. of Colorado in a gold mining project in Zarafshan. British American Tobacco has bought out the cigarette industry; Daewoo has an automobile plant in Fergana; and Mercedes is assembling trucks in Khorezm Province.

The government has stated its intent to move slowly and carefully toward a market‑based economy. The state itself acts as the main agent of reform, and in the summer of 2001, the majority of large enterprise remains in state hands. Small enterprises have been privatized, but market mechanisms are weak and bureaucratic obstacles remain strong.

Cultural Awareness. Although Tashkent is relatively cosmopolitan, most of the rest of Uzbekistan reflects a more conservative, Muslim‑oriented culture. This means that U.S. citizens should be aware of the different standards of dress, and behavior, so as not to offend the Uzbeks.

Dress for Men. As in southern Europe, men rarely wear shorts outside of their own house. Use discretion while playing sports or hiking in the mountains, and change to trousers.

Dress for Women. There are two dress codes, one for most parts of Tashkent and one for everywhere else. In Tashkent, it is acceptable in many places to wear short skirts, tops with bared shoulders, and pants. Outside Tashkent, dress is much more conservative. A dress or skirt should be below the knee; short sleeves are fine, but the shoulder and front should be fully covered. Pants are acceptable if covered by a long top, as is done in Uzbek or Pakistani national dress. Women do not need to cover their heads, as is the case in more Muslim countries.

Behavior. There is no question that Uzbekistan is a male‑dominated society. Much of the local social life revolves around the “chaikhanas” (teahouses). Although foreign women are allowed in, the chaikhanas basically serve as a men’s club where they congregate and talk; local women do not frequent the establishments. When there are large social gatherings of mixed company, the women and men usually sit in separate groups (again, exceptions are made for “honored foreign guests”). Mosques are segregated during regular prayers, and head coverings for women may be required. Women should take the lead in greetings and in offering a handshake; Uzbek women normally do not shake hands, and well‑behaved men do not take the lead in greeting unknown women. Women should avoid walking alone in the evening or in crowded public places such as the bazaar and should dress more conservatively there.

Friendliness and Hospitality. Uzbeks are a very friendly people, especially when foreigners take the trouble to learn a few introductory greetings in Uzbek. Most people will be happy to help with directions, and Uzbeks often invite people to their homes. On such occasions, small gifts, especially for children, would be appreciated but not expected; your hosts are more likely to offer you small gifts/souvenirs.

Plov and Chai (Tea). The standard Uzbek celebratory meal is lengthy and expansive; be careful not to eat too much during the first several rounds. The end of the meal is near when the plov (national dish of rice with some vegetables and sheep meat) is served, followed by tea. Plov is traditionally eaten using the right hand as a scoop from a communal plate, with a garnish of sliced tomatoes and onions. Uzbeks fill their tea bowls only halfway, so the guest knows that she or he is not expected to leave immediately upon finishing.

Shopping In and Around Tashkent. Much of Tashkent commerce is conducted in “bazaars,” open‑air markets around town. Tashkent has five main bazaars, with many smaller ones scattered throughout the city. There are also stores that have essential and local mass‑produced goods. There are many places to buy handicrafts and souvenirs, including rugs, pottery, paintings, and fabrics.

Bazaars. With the freeing of most food prices, bazaars have the widest selection and offer the best quality. Buyers should be aware of the sanitary conditions of the food. For goods, bazaar sales are catch‑as‑catch‑can; what may appear new could well be broken, and what may appear antique probably is an imitation. Prices are never fixed, and first demands should never be paid; intuition and desire are the best guides.

Commercial Shops. Tashkent has at least one department store offering a range of goods from Russia, Turkey, and Western Europe. There are also a few specialized stores, such as Levi’s and Mother Care. Small stores scattered around the city sell Western alcohol (beer, some wine, and spirits), soft drinks, cigarettes, sweets and some dairy products. Some carry consumer electronics and a variety of other luxuries. Selection is limited and prices are high by U.S. standards.

Handicrafts and Souvenirs. A popular area for buying such goods is “Broadway,” a pedestrian‑only access street near Amir Temur Square.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

In the last decades of the Soviet Union, Tashkent had become one of its most vibrant and progressive artistic and intellectual centers because of the rich mix of Asian and European cultures here. Intellectuals and artists who did not end up in the Gulag but who were exiled from Moscow frequently moved to Tashkent. Since independence in September 1991, state subsidies for the arts and for education have fallen precipitously, and numerous European‑nationality artists, intellectuals, and musicians have emigrated. Furthermore, independent Uzbekistan is experiencing the cultural dislocation common to independent societies. The dominant Soviet/Russian culture is declining and Uzbek culture is moving to the fore. Tashkent, as well as Samarkand and Bukhara are the artistic and intellectual centers of Uzbekistan, as they have long been.

Uzbek culture, long repressed during the Soviet period, strongly emphasizes tradition and ceremony, especially on the life-cycle occasions of weddings, circumcisions, and funerals. For the first two, the celebration features traditional Uzbek music, poetry, and dance. Professional artists who perform at these events are highly regarded in the Uzbek community and highly paid. A wedding celebration, with its procession of musicians, is an event not to be missed.

The National Museum of Art has a representative selection of Russian, Soviet, European, and Uzbek paintings and other objects from the 17th century to the present. The museum occasionally hosts temporary exhibits from other countries. The Museum of Applied Arts, housed partly in a restored 19th‑century trader’s mansion, has a permanent exhibit of the traditional arts and contemporary glass and ceramic products of Uzbekistan. Both of these museums have small but interesting consignment shops that sell central Asian and Russian antiques, carpets, jewelry, and contemporary arts and crafts. Handwritten signs in these shops note that it is illegal to take anything out of the country that was made before 1947.

Uzbekistan’s rich collection of central Asian antiquities and jewelry has been put into storage awaiting the opening of the Uzbekistan Historical Museum, which will be housed in the former Lenin Museum, a lattice‑covered modernist building located across the street from Independence Square. Tashkent also has a Museum of Natural History, a Museum of Military History, the Museum of Ancient Oriental Manuscripts, as well as other small, specialized museums. Several small, private art galleries also exist. The Archduke Romanov’s (Governor of Turkestan in the 1890s) home has been fully restored and is now used as a reception house by the Foreign Ministry. The Samarkand Museum, abutting the world‑famous Registan ensemble of medieval buildings, has one of the best and richest exhibits of the arts of daily life in all of central Asia.

The Navoi State Opera and Ballet Theater is the most prestigious in the country and has a full season of opera, ballet, and symphony productions, which sometimes star visiting artists from Russia. Tashkent also has 10 theaters with regular repertoires. The most popular are Ilkhom Theater, Young Spectator’s Theater, Khidoyatov Uzbek Drama Theater, Gorky Russian Drama Theater, and Russian Operetta Theater. The Conservatory of Music, one of the best of the former Soviet Union, sponsors numerous concerts and recitals during the year. All performances in Tashkent begin at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., and audiences are home before 10 p.m.

Uzbekistan has the potential of becoming a major tourist destination because of its world‑class monuments of medieval Islamic architecture. Samarkand is famous for its Registan ensemble, the ruins of Bibi Khanum Mosque, the tomb of Amir Timur (Tamarlane), and the haunting Street of Mausoleums. Bukhara and Khiva, great cities of the Silk Route, are fascinating places to visit. The Savitsky State Museum in Nukus (Karakalpakstan) houses a world‑famous collection of Russian and Uzbek modernist paintings. A new organization, The Friends of Nukus Museum, is working to make this museum better known and helping it to conserve its building.

As elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, education has high priority in Uzbekistan. With independence, the language of instruction has shifted from Russian to Uzbek, and a number of non‑Uzbek nationality educators and scholars have emigrated. Some students and educators complain that the quality of education and the integrity of academic administration have fallen. All education is under the Ministry of Higher Education or the Ministry of Public Education. No private schools are accredited, although a few private academies exist, especially to teach business subjects. Tashkent has an extensive system of specialized high schools for students gifted in the sciences, the arts, and languages.

Tashkent has four important universities: The University of World Economy and Diplomacy (the elite school for government service), Tashkent State Economics University, Tashkent State University, and the University of World Languages. There are also many institutes and think tanks in Tashkent, including the prestigious Oriental Studies Institute. Tashkent State University has recently decentralized, upgrading provincial training centers to the status of state universities.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Uzbekistan suffered less than other newly independent states following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This good fortune is attributable to several factors: Uzbekistan’s principal exports were and remain cotton and gold, for which it was easily able to find new markets. The country was nearly self‑sufficient in energy and now is a modest net exporter. It was saddled with relatively little inefficient heavy industry and has moved only very slowly to reform that sector of its economy.

While Uzbekistan has managed to avert a major collapse, its growth remains far below its considerable potential. Uzbekistan has all the ingredients needed to become a regional economic powerhouse: a dynamic literate and entrepreneurial population of 25 million, a central location at the crossroads of central Asia, relatively good infrastructure, rich mineral resources, energy self‑sufficiency, and political and social stability. Unfortunately, an inconvertible currency, restrictive trade practices, and a heavy layer of bureaucracy have deterred foreign investment and hampered economic growth.

Following its September 1, 1991 declaration of independence, Uzbekistan has pursued a policy of very gradual economic reform. Preservation of political stability remains the government’s top priority, and economic reform can occur only where the government does not see it as a threat to stability. Much of the economy remains in state hands, the agricultural sector remains under tight state control, and the government attempts to control consumption and investment patterns by controlling access to foreign exchange.

The agricultural sector is geared to the production of two principal crops: cotton, which accounts for roughly 40% of Uzbekistan’s hard currency revenues, and wheat, which is grown for import substitution. Uzbekistan’s abundant fruit and vegetable crops feed the nation and its neighbors, especially Russia and Kazakhstan, and are an increasingly important source of export income. Uzbekistan is the fourth largest cotton producer in the world and the second largest exporter after the U.S.

Uzbekistan has significant natural resources and relatively developed mining and oil and gas industries. Much of the foreign investment that has come in to Uzbekistan since independence has been focused on natural resource extraction and processing. In recognition of foreign interest and in an effort to attract capital, the government has allowed foreign companies significant access to strategic natural resources.

Heavy industry includes plants manufacturing agricultural machinery, aircraft, cable wire, passenger and commercial vehicles, tools and parts for railway maintenance. Industrial production mechanisms are based on antiquated Russian‑designed processes. The largest foreign investment project in the sector is the $658 million automobile plant that Korea’s Daewoo Corporation built in the Andijan Province.

Currency controls, and the resulting multiple exchange rate system, were initially introduced as “temporary” measures. In July 1998, President Karimov pledged that convertibility would be restored in 2000, and in early 2000 the hopes of investors, international financial institutions (IFIs) and other observers were very high. The government took measures in 2000 to reduce the distortions from its multiple exchange rate system by first devaluing the official exchange rate by 35%, merging it with the commercial rate, and then introducing a new exchange booth rate close to the black market rate. In June 2001, the Cabinet of Ministers passed a resolution to liberalize Uzbekistan’s exchange rate regime, possibly a significant step toward currency convertibility. The new resolution eliminates the mandatory sale of 50% of hard currency revenues for decentralized exports by small and medium enterprises, while the mandatory sale remains in effect for other decentralized exporters, but will be at the commercial or interbank rate rather than the official rate.

U.S. firms currently operating in Uzbekistan include Newmont (Uzbekistan) Ltd., Coca‑Cola, Pepsi‑Cola International, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Case, Caterpillar‑Sarl, Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Goodyear, Honeywell, Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble, Steelcase Strafor Brefal, and others. Prospects for long‑term opportunities in this market are excellent, and we expect to see the number of U.S. firms increase dramatically over the next few years.


Automobiles Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Because Tashkent is such a spread‑out city, a personally owned vehicle is more a necessity than a luxury. Employees can either ship a vehicle to post or procure one locally. To drive in Uzbekistan, you will need your U.S. license and a copy of your diplomatic passport. AAA international drivers licenses are unnecessary in Uzbekistan. Gas is often of poor quality and not always plentiful. On occasion, 76‑octane is all that is available on the local economy. In conjunction with the Embassy, the employees’ association sells 93 octane gas and diesel. Unleaded gas is not available. Catalytic converters should be removed in the U.S. before departure (save pieces if the car is to be re‑imported to the U.S.). If you have a Western car of some worth, arrange for insurance through a Western company, such as Clements & Co. Local liability insurance is required by the host government, and costs only a few thousand soum.

U.S. Government personnel stationed in Tashkent own a variety of American and foreign cars; several have acquired vehicles locally. Good auto repair, especially for American cars, is very difficult to find. If you decide to ship your car, aside from having the catalytic converter removed, be sure to ship plenty of oil and spare parts (belts, oil, fuel and air filters, windshield wipers, brakepads, antifreeze, octane booster, spare tires, etc.)

All‑weather roads exist between the larger cities and points of interest, but most are in poor repair and can wreak havoc on your auto. Highway driving at night is dangerous due to pedestrians and unlit parked and moving vehicles.

Using personal vehicles for overnight trips outside the city are discouraged unless someone will be with the car at all times as vandalism is prolific. Cars and drivers are available for hire on an hourly, daily, or several‑day basis for a reasonable fee.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The public transportation system within Tashkent consists of buses, trolleybuses, trams, taxis, and a metro system. City bus service is one class and inexpensive; however, it is not recommended for use because of crowding and petty crime. The underground “metro” system, the only one in central Asia, currently has two lines and a third under construction. It, too, is inexpensive, and while the crowds can be intense at rush hour, it is reliable. Taxis, used frequently by Americans, are readily available during daylight hours. They are marked with the checkerboard stamp on the side. Accepting rides from “private” taxis late at night can be dangerous and is discouraged. If the taxi is not equipped with a meter, the fare should be determined prior to the journey.

Embassy Vehicles. The Embassy’s vehicles are intended for official travel and temporary duty transport to/from accommodations. Although official vehicles are not available for personal use, the Embassy motorpool can arrange to hire vehicles at the employee’s expense.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The quality of the phone lines in Uzbekistan is poor. However, the Embassy has a contract with a joint British‑Uzbek venture for digital phone service in the Embassy as well as most residences. The service and quality are dramatically better. International direct dial calls are of adequate quality and very expensive. “Call Back” services are also available for international calls.

Internet Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Internet services are available, although the quality and reliability are not always the best.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

No APO service exists to or from Tashkent. There is a weekly outgoing pouch that usually takes about, 2–3 weeks to reach the Department, from which it is deposited into U.S. mail. Travelers returning to the U.S. often carry personal letters, which greatly reduces transit time. Incoming pouches take as long as the outgoing and can arrive anywhere from twice weekly to once every 2 weeks. Bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps; they are not available in Uzbekistan. However, the employee’ association has a limited supply of stamps available. The address for pouch mail is:

Your Name Department of State 7110 Tashkent Place Dulles, Virginia 20189–7110

Do not include any reference to the embassy or your office in the personal mail address.

The Department neither registers nor insures packages, and it does not accept items that require signatures. Packages are also restricted by size and contents.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Both radio and TV in Uzbekistan are government operated in Uzbek and Russian. However, in August 1993, an Uzbek‑American joint venture, Kamalak TV, began offering cable service. This offers approximately 20 channels. ESPN, International CNN, BBC World, Cartoon Network and STAR are the English‑language channels, and the remainder have programs in Uzbek, Russian, German, and other languages. Many of the channels are sporadic with poor reception. AFN decoders are available from the employees’ association.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Subscriptions to the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, and The Economist through a private expediter arrive a few days late and are very expensive. There are currently no English‑language periodicals available in Tashkent. Subscriptions to publications that interest you should be sent via pouch; avoid having magazines or newspapers sent through international mail.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy Health Unit is staffed by a Foreign Service Health Practitioner (FSHP). The Regional Medical Officer visits once a quarter. A subscription international clinic has recently been established under the direction of an American doctor. The Embassy pays clinic membership costs of assigned U. S. personnel. Serious injury or illness may be treated at a local polyclinic, but will probably require a medical evacuation. There is one dental facility for routine care. Shops are available to buy replacement eyeglasses, but there are no approved optometrists. Tashkent and the surrounding areas are very dusty. Do not rely only on contact lenses. The Health Unit and the clinic have pharmacies with just the basic medications needed for acute care. At least a year’s supply of drugs and medicines should be brought to post, as should adequate pairs of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.

Residents of Tashkent should take appropriate health precautions. The following are the recommended vaccinations for Uzbekistan:

Diphtheria, Tetanus: boosters every 10 years. Hepatitis A: a series of two shots over a 6‑month period. Hepatitis B: a series of three shots over a 6‑month span. Meningitis A, C, W, & Y: every 3 years. Rabies: three injections over a 21‑day period. Typhoid: oral every 5 years or every 2 years. Polio: once as an adult.

Community Health Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Garbage collection does exist, but there is no rhyme or reason to its schedule. Hence, garbage is sometimes dumped on the street and collected randomly, and infrequently. Flies, rodents, and mosquitoes can be a problem, as can cockroaches, ants, scorpions, and other household pests. Stray cats and dogs might be infested with parasites; if you want to take one of them into your home, have it checked by the veterinarian. Ship ant and roach spray and mouse and rat poison with consumables.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Food Preparation. Regarding food preparation and storage, keep the following guidelines in mind. Be aware of problematic snacks at receptions (cream‑filled pastries, chicken, etc.) Remember to wash hands before preparing food and before eating.

Water. Tapwater, restaurant water, and ice throughout Uzbekistan are unsafe. All water should be filtered and treated. A distiller is provided to all Embassy residences. Safe bottled water is plentiful. Always ensure plates, glasses, and flatware in restaurants are dry. Do not use tap water to brush your teeth or rinse your toothbrush.

Fruits and Vegetables. Produce that will be peeled should be washed. Other vegetables and fruits should be soaked in a chlorine solution (three drops Clorox per liter) for 15 minutes. Another alternative is washing in water with a few grains of Potassium Permanganate (can be obtained locally), then rinsing in distilled water and drying. Consumption of large amounts of uncooked berries may cause diarrhea.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish. Meat may be purchased safely at one of the large supermarkets. Meat purchased in the bazaars has been exposed to dust and flies and is subject to contamination. All meat should be served well done. Eggs should be washed well just before use.

Dairy Products. Dairy products in stores should be safe, having been pasteurized, but are poorly handled; those in the market normally have not been pasteurized. Fresh milk should be avoided or at a very minimum boiled before use. Long‑shelf life milk is readily available. Avoid soft cheese; hard cheese is okay. Yogurt is readily available.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Outside employment opportunities in Tashkent are limited, but the number of organizations with possible jobs is growing. There are a number of EFM positions at the Embassy, however, and most spouses who wish to work, are able to do so. Contract work, such as price and wage surveying, is occasionally available. The International School also provides opportunities for employment, such as teachers and other assistance; pay is not U.S. scale. For more specific information, write the administrative officer or community liaison officer.

American Embassy - Tashkent

Post City Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and its largest city, with a population of just over two million. Located in the Chirchik River Valley (the river feeds into the Syr‑Darya), Tashkent has two main canals, the Ankhor and the Bozsu, running through the city. Though the climate is semiarid, the extensive system of canals, parks, gardens, and tree‑lined avenues make Tashkent a green city. Spring rains usually subside by mid‑May. In July and early August, the temperatures often can reach 104°F (40°C) or higher, but nighttime temperatures are much lower. Fall can extend into November and early December, with a short January and February winter occasioned by scattered snowfalls but few sustained freezing spells.

Although located on a historical site along the Silk Road, Tashkent is a relatively modern city. It was a small community before the Russians conquered it and made it their administrative center in the 1860s, at a time when Samarkand and Bukhara were the main cities in central Asia. The Russians then developed the city in a primarily Imperial Russian architectural style. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, a core of radicals established a Soviet controlled Tashkent, the first foothold of Bolshevism in a region generally hostile to revolutionary ideas.

During World War II, when much of the European part of the Soviet Union crumbled and starved under the Nazi onslaught, Tashkent became known as the “City of Bread.” In 1966, a devastating earthquake leveled much of the old city. The 14 other Republics of the U.S.S.R. were each given a section of Tashkent to rebuild; the resulting lack of coordination contributed to Tashkent’s current dispersed layout.

Remnants of the old city can be found in the neighborhoods northwest of the center of town. The architecture elsewhere, however, is decidedly contemporary Soviet. In addition to the central city administration (“hokimiat”), 13 district hokimiats provide many of the services normally associated with city administration. Long‑term residents of Tashkent will often identify more with their “mahallah” (neighborhood/district) and local “chaikhana” (teahouse) than with any citywide institution.

Tashkent boasts the only underground metro system in Central Asia; ongoing construction aims to add a third line to the two now in place. In the mid‑1990s the Supreme Soviet voted to spend $500 million to construct a new airport complex in an effort to bolster Tashkent’s potential as an air gateway between Europe and Asia. As of July 2001, Tashkent’s airport continues to be refurbished.

Many of the Russians, Ukrainians, and other nationalities who came to rebuild the city in the aftermath of the earthquake preferred the warmer climate and decided to settle here, further diluting the Central Asian character of the city. As a result of the lengthy Russian presence and the use of Tashkent as a regional center for Central Asia, Tashkent is home to more than 100 nationalities and retains the flavor of an international city. It is here that you will find the largest concentration of Russians (17% vs. 8% countrywide). The smaller Korean community makes its presence known in the marketplaces and in restaurants around town.

Despite its size and status as a capital, Tashkent can seem surprisingly provincial. Ample parks and other recreational facilities, however, help make life interesting in this city.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Chancery is located at 82 Chilanzarskaya, southwest of the city center. The nearest metro station is about a 7‑minute walk from the Embassy. A second location in the center of the city houses the offices of USAID, the FCS and PAS.

Embassy hours are 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday‑closed on Saturday and Sunday. The Embassy has 24‑hour local guard service. The Embassy switchboard telephone number is 998‑(71)‑120‑5450, and the fax number is 998‑(71)‑120‑6335. ** Note you only need to dial the last digits after (71) when calling from inside Tashkent—this will usually be six or seven digits.

All new personnel arriving in Tashkent on permanent assignment are met at the airport by a staff member. If you are not met, call the Embassy at the main number listed above or the Embassy Duty Officer at 131‑2163. Taxi service is available from the airport to the Embassy, approximately a 15‑minute drive; and most taxi drivers understand “American Embassy” (Amerikanskaya Posolstva).

The Mission is established along traditional lines with the Ambassador and DCM comprising the Executive Section. A Political/Economic Section, Administrative Section, Consular Section, Public Affairs Section, Peace Corps, FCS, USAID, DAO, SAO, and FAS make up the Mission.

Since no salary checks are issued at post, permanently assigned employees are encouraged to arrange for direct deposits to their U.S. banks; you should process the necessary forms while in Washington, D.C.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Post makes every effort to ensure new arrivals are lodged in government quarters, but acquiring new housing is an arduous process. If quarters are unavailable, the most frequently used hotels are either the Inter‑Continental or the Sheraton. The hotels accept travelers checks and credit cards.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

All personnel are housed in government‑leased, furnished quarters which are either detached or semidetached dwellings with private courtyards located in various sections of the city and varying distances to the Chancery. The Ambassador’s residence is about 30 minutes from the Embassy; the residence is a Western‑style, two‑story house with basement and indoor dipping pool. Upstairs are four bedrooms, two baths, and an upstairs study and an outside balcony adjoining the master bedroom. The ground floor has a large two‑story main salon, adjoining the large welcoming room which overlooks the small enclosed garden, a main floor den, a powder room, and a large kitchen. The layout works well for seated meals of up to 24 people, or receptions of 120 people or more. Walls are plain with ample space for large pictures or wall hangings.

The DCM’s residence is located about 10 minutes from the Embassy. The residence is an Uzbek-style, two‑story house with basement, sauna, and indoor dipping pool. Upstairs are three bedrooms, one bath, and a study. The ground floor has a large two‑story foyer, adjoining the living/entertaining room, a small dining room, guest bedroom, a bath, a powder room, and a kitchen. Walls are plain with ample space for large pictures or wall hangings. All other personnel occupy properties appropriate to their family size and representational responsibilities. All properties have at least two bedrooms.

Furnishings Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

All quarters are government‑furnished with standard Drexel furniture. Each property has adequate living room, dining room and bedroom furnishings. Carpets and vacuum cleaners are included. A typical residence has one queen‑sized bed and two twin‑sized beds (more or fewer twin beds depending upon number of occupants); ship sheets for these sizes.

In view of this, personnel of all agencies assigned to Tashkent receive travel authorizations providing for limited HHE shipment. Bring dishes, glasses, flatware, kitchen utensils, and pots and pans, as well as bathroom rugs, shower curtains and hooks, coat hangers, and ironing board and iron. Pictures, paintings, small pieces of personal furniture, some lamps, and other items also give quarters a personal touch. Household tools will be useful. Storage space at most properties is adequate, but no U.S. Government or commercial storage is available. Consider this when shipping effects to Tashkent, and when shipping your additional consumables allowance.

The Ambassador’s residence is furnished and equipped, including items such as standard china, glassware, silver, kitchen, and serving pieces for representational purposes. Linens are available only for guest bedrooms. Bring your own favorite everyday articles.

The DCM’s residence is furnished and equipped, including items such as standard china, glassware, silver, kitchen, and serving pieces for representational purposes. Bring your own favorite everyday articles.

As of January 2003, personnel assigned to Tashkent are authorized 750 pounds of HHE airfreight, in addition to the UAB authorized by 6 FAM 147.2 2.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

All homes are equipped with the following: a gas range, refrigerator, freezer, water distiller, microwave oven, automatic washer and dryer, fire extinguisher, heat/air‑conditioning units and one transformer. Some residences also have dishwashers. Furnished appliances are American‑ or European‑sized, depending on the available space. All living quarters have central heating, running water, flush toilets, some kind of shower/tub arrangement, electricity, and telephone. Water pressure is often low, and hot water is not always readily available. During the colder months, it is not uncommon for the gas pressure to diminish greatly—if not completely—due to the increased demand on the supply for heating purposes.

Electric power in Uzbekistan is 220v, 50‑cycle, AC. Voltage fluctuations occur, and power failures (usually brief) and brown‑outs occur regularly, so bring a supply of candles. Step‑down transformers are required for 110v appliances. Bring a supply of electric adapters and multiple wall plugs.

The Ambassador’s residence has both gas and electric ranges, an icemaker (nonpotable), a continuous distiller, and a stereo CD/cassette/receiver system for one living room. The basic appliances are U.S. sized.

Food Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Fresh vegetables and fruits are available in season in Tashkent year round. Available fruits include pomegranates, grapes, pears, cherries (Bing and sour), apples, oranges, bananas, lemons, nectarines, melons, peaches, plums, apricots, raspberries, and strawberries. The berries are generally unsafe to eat “fresh.” They should be cooked. Canned fruits are available but most residents prefer to can their own. Vegetables in the market include eggplant, pumpkin, squash, green beans, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, garlic, green and red peppers, cauliflower, and leaf lettuce. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes are available year round.

Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken are generally available in the markets; quality ranges from average to poor. Ham, bacon, and sausage are also available at Tashkent’s main market. Smoked fish is available all year, but it may involve health risks; fresh fish, of varying quality, is seasonally available. There is no other seafood. Eggs are available and good, and are usually fresh.

Locally produced butter, milk, and other dairy products are scarce; due to improper hygienic conditions in handling and packaging, they are not recommended (except for hard cheese). Butter, long‑life milk, yogurt, “smetana” (sour cream), and imported cheeses are available in the larger supermarkets, but sporadically. Just because they have it this week, does not mean they will have it again next week. Bread is plentiful through state‑controlled bread stores. It is heavier than American‑type bread and is preservative free.

Personnel assigned to Tashkent are authorized a consumables allowance, usually 2,500 pounds. It is recommended that 1,500 pounds or less be shipped initially; the remaining 1,000 pounds can be ordered before the end of the first year of the tour. Put emphasis on brand‑specific toiletries, basic staples, paper/plastic products, canned vegetables and fruits, dried or evaporated milk, canned meat and seafood, favorite beverages, items for representation, household and laundry products, and pet food and supplies.

Even though many of the items listed may be available locally, supplies are erratic, choices are limited, quality may be inferior, and prices are high. Bring all school supplies with you. Good quality notepads are very hard to find locally, as are pencils, pens, crayons, paints, craft paper, glue, and children's scissors.

The employees’ association operates a small commissary where several staples, as well as convenience items, can be found. Several employees order items through the Internet and Peter Justensen, which delivers approximately 6 times per year. Tashkent has a number of small supermarkets, and new ones always seem to be under construction. Most offer foods and paper products imported from Russia, Turkey, and other European countries. Some have frozen food and fresh meat sections.

A large selection of good, inexpensive fruits and vegetables are available in Tashkent’s many, year‑round outdoor markets. Some stores stock limited supplies of hard liquor and wines. Beer is usually available from either these shops or street vendors. Prices are somewhat high. Coca Cola has a bottling plant in Tashkent, and a limited variety of other Western products, including Pepsi-Cola, are available. Locally produced soft drinks and fruit juices are plentiful and good.

Clothing Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tashkent is not a particularly fashion‑conscious city; good‑quality clothing is not available, and many residents who are well dressed make their own.

Men Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Social life is informal; black‑tie affairs are rare. Men wear coats and ties and dark suits for more formal occasions. Morning clothes, white tie, and dinner jackets are unnecessary. A lined raincoat is useful; heavy winter coats are occasionally necessary. In summer, lightweight suits are useful for the office, and short‑sleeved shirts are acceptable. In winter, light to medium weight wool or synthetic wool blend suits are useful.

Women Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

There are few occasions for cocktail dresses, but dressy evening outfits will be used. In summer, cotton, linen, blends, and knits in casual styles are most comfortable for office and home wear. Revealing dresses or shorts are not suitable for Embassy personnel for street wear, particularly in bazaar (market) areas. Younger Uzbek women wear slacks, and they are acceptable in restaurants, modern shopping areas, etc., in Tashkent only. For winter, medium to heavyweight woolens are comfortable, as is a warm coat. Dresses, skirts, blouses, sweaters, jackets, suits, slacks, etc., are all worn. Although houses have central heating, winter dampness makes it feel much colder than it actually is. Wool stoles and sweaters are also useful on many winter evenings. Tashkent has no storage facilities for furs.

Bring shoes from the U.S. Streets and sidewalks are usually quite uneven. Walking shoes or pump‑type shoes with low, wider heels are recommended for most outings. Shoes are not worn inside Uzbek homes and are removed at the entrance. Rubber boots or wet‑weather‑type shoe/boots are essential. Lingerie, pantyhose, and the like are not available here. Bring an adequate supply of all clothing and shoes.

Children Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

If children will be accompanying you to post, be sure to bring adequate clothing for them.

Catalog shopping is also very popular among Embassy employees.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Toilet articles and cosmetics are few and far between, as are drugs and medications, and cleaning products. Bring an adequate supply of everything, including skin lotions, moisturizers, sunscreen and mosquito repellents, paper products (also for entertaining and Christmas wrapping), and greeting cards.

Basic Services Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Dressmaking and tailoring are available; work can be good and is reasonable. Shoe repair in Tashkent can be satisfactory. Dry‑cleaning is available, mostly of poor quality, but there are a couple of cleaners now who can be trusted to do a good job. Adequate beauty shops abound. Some Americans take their own shampoo, or shampoo at home and go to the shop for a cut and/or set only. Most hairdressers don’t speak enough English to understand instructions. Barbershops are also available; prices are much lower than in the U.S.

Auto Repair. A good mechanic in Tashkent is hard to find. However, several Embassy Americans have connected with a mechanic who does superior work, even by Western standards. Parts for Russian cars may require serious bazaar‑scouring, or the help of your mechanic’s connections. Parts for Western cars currently are not available in Tashkent; however, with the arrival of Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes in Uzbekistan may come a supply of basic spare parts. Personnel assigned to Tashkent should be certain to ship any parts and fluids necessary to keep their cars operable.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Unemployment among residents of Uzbekistan is high; many thousands of people are looking for work at any given time. Therefore, just about everyone has a sister or wife or in‑law looking for employment. Domestic help is basically honest, but not always trained in the ways expected by U.S. citizens. With patience and perseverance, satisfactory domestic help can be had, and at a very reasonable price.

Good cooks are difficult to find and are limited by the availability of foods in the markets. Cooks and domestics may be hired nightly for receptions, dinners, etc. or on a monthly full‑time basis.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Uzbekistan is a Muslim country. There are, however, communities of Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant) and Jews, all of which maintain places of worship and conduct services.

Education Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tashkent International School (TIS) opened in September 1994 to approximately 50 students and has since nearly tripled in size. It offers an educational program from kindergarten through grade 12, and its curriculum is based on the U.S. educational system. The school is actively pursuing joint U.S./European accreditation. Five out of the six students from the 2001 graduating class were accepted into major U.S. universities and were cumulatively offered over $100,000 in scholarships. During the 2002/03 school year, there were about 33 U.S. children enrolled in TIS. Other international schools are available, but TIS is the primary educational institution. There are two half‑day preschools in operation for children 2–6 years old. Both are volunteer organizations and daycare providers change regularly.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tashkent offers sports and other recreational pursuits. There are three major tennis complexes, a golf club, a bowling center, several swimming pools, two simple horseback riding facilities, and a water park complete with slides. There are many parks around town with children’s rides, slides, and swings. In addition there are a couple of amusement parks. A variety of sporting activities outside of Tashkent is available (bring your own equipment). They include hiking, winter skiing, camping, bicycling, and whitewater rafting.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Traveling the Silk Road. The famous Silk Road offers many beautiful tourist areas that you can visit from Tashkent. These cities include:

Samarkand. Timur’s capital city is a 4‑hour drive or a 1‑hour flight from Tashkent, either of which could facilitate a day trip. The city’s five main sites are: Gur Emir, Tamarlane’s Tomb; the Registan, the most magnificent Square in central Asia; Shah-i-Zinda, Tomb of the Living King; Bibi-Kanim Mosque; and Ulugbek’s Observatory. The best way to travel by car is to hire a driver with vehicle for the day; the rental drivers are reasonable. It’s more convenient to travel to Samarkand by plane; but once there, a car is needed. Guides are available for hire at the Intourist Hotel or the Business Center.

Bukhara. Bukhara is another 2–3 hours by car beyond Samarkand; the one‑way flight from Tashkent is 1 hour to 1 hour and 40 minutes to fly to Bukhara from Tashkent, depending on the airline used. You can visit many of the sites of Bukhara on foot, but you might wish to arrange a vehicle for airport pickup and transfer to outlying sites. Guides are available. Sites include the Pool in the City Square, the Tower before which Genghis bowed, the unique 11th-century Mausoleum, various medressahs, and the Summer Palace located a few kilometers outside of town.

Khiva. Khiva is less accessible than either Samarkand or Bukhara. It is 2 hours by plane to Urgench and then 25 kilometers from Urgench via bus, minibus, or taxi. Old Khiva is a museum city, in which the many Madrasas, palaces and other ancient buildings have been restored. The Museum of Applied Arts, well worth a visit, is near the palace’s tower, which provides a good view of the city. One of the city's mosques boasts 200 carved wooden pillars.

Shahrisabz. Tamarlane’s birthplace has several noteworthy monuments, including the remains of Timur’s massive gate. Sharisabz is 80 kilometers from Samarkand over a steep mountain pass which is closed in winter, but offers a great view from spring through early fall.

Although most people have heard of the Silk Road cities, few know of the beauty and serenity of the mountains and nature preserves within 1–2 hours of Tashkent. In all cases, it is best to drive, by either personal or hired vehicle. Popular destinations include:

Chirvak. A reservoir which offers swimming, sail boating, wind surfing and hang gliding.

Chimgan. An area for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The Beldeersai Chairlift is 2 kilometers long and offers intermediate and advanced ski slopes. Helicopter skiing can be arranged.

Mountain valleys above the reservoir offer incredible hiking in the spring and summer.

Chatkal Nature Reserve. Facilitates hiking and has a beautiful ranger station/ “caravanserai” with river swimming.

For travel outside Uzbekistan, there are flights to such places as Turkey, Thailand, India, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Israel, England, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, and the U.S.

Entertainment Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Aside from the ballet, concerts, and theater described in Arts, Science, and Education, Tashkent offers dinner shows at many restaurants. There is a growing number of restaurants with international cuisine, five or six local fast food establishments, and many average restaurants offering Uzbek or Russian dishes. The food served at these establishments is adequate, but the quality and sanitary standards are average to poor. Oftentimes, music is provided, either live or recorded.

Larger hotels have “night bars” where people can gather until the early morning hours. There are also theaters that screen movies in the local languages; some even boast an occasional screening in English.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM Since outside social activities are limited, many people entertain at home with dinners, cocktail parties, card parties, and the like. Bring games, videos, easy‑to‑prepare food, etc. Currently, there is a Hash House Harriers event on Sundays, with the group gathering after the run/walk.

International Contacts Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM An international women’s group meets monthly. The group offers programs relating to archeological, cultural, and social aspects of life in Uzbekistan, as well as various special activities such as gourmet cooking, handicrafts, exercise, bridge lessons, etc., depending on the group’s interest.

Official Functions Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The schedule of representational functions attended and hosted by the Ambassador, DCM and, to a lesser degree, other Embassy officers, is sporadic—sometimes heavy and sometimes moderate. Officers below the level of section or agency chief receive fewer invitations to national day receptions or Uzbekistan government official functions. American personnel find that contacts useful in their work, as well as purely personal social relationships, must be self‑generated.

More than 49 foreign missions are resident in Tashkent. Several U.N. organizations, the European Union, World Bank, and other international organizations are also represented. Officers call on their counterparts within other missions and on those Uzbekistan Government officials with whom they will conduct business. Business cards are used; it is useful to have a supply in accompanied baggage. Adequate and inexpensive locally printed cards in English and Russian or Uzbek are available.

For most personnel below the rank of Ambassador, DCM, and section chief, social life is what they make of it. Lower ranking personnel have few representational requirements, but can and do participate in broadening the Mission’s contacts.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Uzbekistan Embassy in Washington, D.C., and embassies in several other capitals issue visas valid for the Republic of Uzbekistan. Diplomatic passport holders are exempt from any fees, but must have visas. Regulations and procedures for obtaining visas change frequently, so it is wise to ask for the latest advice well in advance of your trip.

The best way to reach Tashkent is by air from Frankfurt or Istanbul, but London, Moscow, and other points can also be convenient. Make reservations as far in advance as possible.

Airfreight from the U.S. can sometimes take up to 4 weeks to reach Tashkent. Bring enough clothing and other personal items to suit your needs prior to receipt of airfreight. It is not necessary to include bed linens, dishes, or kitchen utensils in your accompanied baggage; you are provided with a small Hospitality Kit for setting up temporary housekeeping.

Bring detailed packing lists of unaccompanied baggage, HHE and consumables shipments. Surface freight from the U.S. has recently averaged 4 months from date of packing and pickup to date of delivery in Tashkent. Ship consumables in separate crates or vans and not with HHE. Consumables should be shipped in crates not to exceed 1,000 pounds (500 kilograms) each, to facilitate customs clearance. Currently, employees assigned to Tashkent are authorized 750 net pounds of their HHE to be shipped to post by air (in addition to UAB).

Mark airfreight (unaccompanied baggage) shipments to Tashkent as follows:

(Your name) American Embassy 82 Chilanzarskaya Tashkent, Uzbekistan (initials of person)

Surface shipments of HHE and consumables from the U.S. are shipped by respective U.S. Despatch Agents via ELSO Antwerp. HHE should be consigned as follows:

(Your name) U.S. European Logistical Support Office Antwerp, Belgium

and should be addressed to:

American Embassy 82 Chilanzarskaya Tashkent, Uzbekistan (initials of employee)

Routings of shipments of HHE and consumables from locations other than the U.S. depend on the location of the post from which they are shipped. Shipments that arrive in Tashkent before the employee may result in customs clearance problems.

All personally owned vehicles should be shipped through ELSO Antwerp unless otherwise instructed.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

A valid visa for Uzbekistan is required for entry. All personnel should bring 10 passport‑sized photos with them to avoid delays in applications for diplomatic ID cards, drivers licenses, etc.

All personnel are allowed to import one private vehicle duty free. At the time of this writing, post is unaware of any restrictions on age or type of vehicle. As soon as you are notified that you will be assigned to Tashkent, contact the general services officer for the most up‑to‑date information regarding importation/shipment of private vehicles.

Passage Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Personnel assigned to Tashkent often travel to other countries in central Asia. Visas, when required, are easily obtained; in most cases these visas are issued gratis to diplomatic passport holders.

Pets Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Pets should arrive with all inoculations, including rabies, up to date. Vaccines are not available locally, and Embassy personnel have to make arrangements for their import. A health certificate from a veterinarian and certificate showing a current and valid rabies inoculation are required for dogs and cats entering the country. No quarantine is required.

Dog food purchased locally is very expensive. Ship appropriate food for your pets with consumables.

Veterinarian services in Tashkent are below U.S. standards, and have been used by Americans with varying degrees of success. Despite difficulties, many Embassy personnel have dogs and cats, and, by exercising due care, have not had serious problems.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Chief of Mission approval is required before any firearms or ammunition can be shipped or carried into Uzbekistan by a mission employee, whether for official purposes or for personal (sporting) use. Permission to import firearms, except handguns, and any ammunition must be submitted in writing, in advance, through the Regional Security Office. Importation of handguns must be approved by the Department of State in accordance with 94 State 119532. All firearms approved for importation by the Chief of Mission will be retained by the RSO except when being used in the performance of official duties or for sporting purposes. Contact the RSO for permission request forms and for a copy of the complete mission firearms policy as soon as firearms importation is contemplated.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

In general, Uzbekistan is a cash‑only economy, with most transactions in the local currency, the soum. Many vendors and merchants, however, will request cash payment in dollars once they discover you are American. Prices for goods that are available for soum are usually quite reasonable by Western standards. Due to low prices and constantly changing exchange rates, it is recommended that you exchange only small amounts of cash per accommodation transaction.

Currently, the cashier will cash checks up to $500 per day for permanently assigned personnel. Any large purchases (cars, etc.) will require cash payment in full. At present, electronic fund transfers to Tashkent are possible, but it is a long, expensive process. If you foresee any major purchases, it is best to bring with you the cash you require.

All personnel should maintain an U.S. checking account. In addition, there is occasionally a lack of small bills ($1, $5, $10) in Uzbekistan, and the Embassy cashier may only have $20s and higher. It is recommended that any traveler carry a supply of small bills issued no earlier than 1993 and in good condition.

Uzbekistan uses the metric system of weights and measures. A metric tape measure is useful.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Diplomatically accredited personnel pay no local taxes, excises, etc. All current U.S. Government regulations on disposal of personal property overseas apply in Uzbekistan.


Personal checks may be cashed for dollars or Uzbek soums with the Embassy’s cashier. Travelers checks are generally not accepted in Uzbekistan, and are not available for purchase at the Embassy. Credit cards are not widely accepted in Tashkent; the few shops that do accept credit cards add a service charge to the price of the merchandise to cover costs.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Akchurian, Morat. Red Odyssey.

Allworth, Edward. The Modern Uzbeks. Hoover Press.

Bailey, F.M. Mission to Tashkent.

Christian, David. A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire. Blackwell Publishers.

Critchlow, James. Nationalism in Uzbekistan. Westview Press.

Grousett, Rene. Empire of the Steppes: AEmpire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia.

Herman, William, Ed. Soviet Central Asia: The Failed Transformation. Westview Press, 1991.

Hopkirk, Kathleen. Central Asia: A Traveler’s Companion. John Murray (Publishers) Inc., 1993.

Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game. Kodansha International.

———. Setting the East Ablaze. Kodansha International.

———. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road. Kodansha Int'l.

Khanga, Yelena. Soul to Soul.

Manz, Beatrice Forbes. The Rise and Rule of Tamarlane. Cambridge University Press.

McClean, Fitzroy. Eastern Approaches.

Nahaylo, Bohdan and Victor Swoboda. Soviet Disunion: A History of the Nationalities Problem in the U.S.S.R. The Free Press, New York, 1990.

Svatopluk Soucek. A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press.

Whittell, Giles. Central Asia: The Practical Handbook. Cadogan Guide.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 3/31/2003 6:00 PM

Uzbekistan’s holidays for 2001 were as follows. An asterisk (*) denotes holidays based on the lunar calendar, exact date to be confirmed. Make travel plans to avoid arrival on these as well as American holidays, when possible.

New Year’s Day January 1 Kurban Hait March 6* Women’s Day March 8 Navruz March 21 Victory Day May 9 Independence Day September 1 Teachers Day October 1 Constitution Day December 8 Ruza Hait December 18

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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