Uzbekistan — “the land of the Uzbeks” — is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Located in the heart of Central Asia on the Ancient Silk Road, Uzbekistan is a double-landlocked country surrounded by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest city in the country. Other large cities include Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and Fergana, all major tourist destinations.
Uzbekistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations throughout history. Alexander the Great conquered the region in 327 BC, followed by centuries of rule under the Persian Empire. Next came the Arabs in the eighth century AD, the Mongols in the 13th century and the Timurid Dynasty in the 14th century. The Russian Empire spread into Central Asia and Uzbek lands in the 19th century. With the Bolshevik Revolution came Soviet armed forces and the creation of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought more change. Uzbekistan became independent on August 31, 1991 and now celebrates National Independence Day on September 1.