Country people have to look
up when they
here the name...
...independant since 1991 when the USSR broke up. Key towns include Tashkent
(the capital), the fabled Samarkand
(Samarqand) and Bukhara (Buxoro). Genghis Khan invaded the area and later
it gave rise to it's own bloody
thirsty conquerer and national hero
Tarmerlane (Timur Lange).
tourists do go there, normally
heading for Samarkand
(Registan Square or 'Reggies Place', Bib Qanum Mosque, Ulug Beg's observatory), Bukhara (the 'Ark' fortress) and Khiva (or Xiva - one of the most complete medieval moslem
towns in the world).
Mainly Sunni Moslem
since the Arabs invaded before Genghis Khan and kicked
out the Buddhists, Zoroastrians and Nestorian Christians. Some
Russian Orthodox Christians still around. Generally peaceful these days
apart from a few hardliner Commies and Islamists committing the odd misdeed. Maily Uzbeks, with a few Tajiks, Russians and a tiny number of Koreans (don't ask how they
got there - last local reminant of Buddhism).
By the way, 'X' in Uzbek is 'Kh' and 'K' keeps getting replaced by 'Q' in their alphabet.