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,
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
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
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
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
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.
Handicrafts and Souvenirs. A popular area for buying such goods
is “Broadway,” a pedestrian‑only access street near Amir Temur
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 3/31/2003
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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,
and should be addressed to:
American Embassy 82 Chilanzarskaya Tashkent, Uzbekistan (initials
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Svatopluk Soucek. A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University
Whittell, Giles. Central Asia: The Practical Handbook. Cadogan
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