Uzbekistan. Visit Countryaah official website to get information about the capital city of Uzbekistan. Five radical Muslims were sentenced in January to multi-year prison sentences accused of trying to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. According to an Uzbek human rights organization, the charges were invented.
In February, at least 15 people were killed and about 130 were wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the capital Tashkent, apparently directed at the regime and President Islam Karimov. Six men were later sentenced to death and fourteen to long prison terms, all accused of being behind the death. Several of the convicted were alleged to have tried to assassinate the president.
Militant Islamists fought during the late summer and autumn against the army in southern Kyrgyzstan, near the border with Uzbekistan. The Uzbekistan regime claimed that it was an ethnic Uzbek from the banned opposition party of the Uzbek Islamic Islamic movement, which wanted to infiltrate the rich and Muslim radical Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan. The foreign ministers from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan held a crisis meeting, and the four former Soviet republics then conducted military exercises together with Russian troops to train actions against Muslim guerrillas.
Uzbekistan, which previously pursued a Western-friendly policy, approached both China and the Russian Federation during the year. In November, President Karimov visited Beijing and held talks on increased economic cooperation but also on a joint fight against terrorism. In December, Uzbekistan was visited by Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin and Karimov agreed that the two countries would strengthen military cooperation, and Karimov expressed his support for the Russian war in Chechnya. He, on the other hand, criticized the OSCE for being too busy with human rights and too little with the security problems Central Asia and the Caucasus are facing. At the same time, the suspected leader of the banned Islamic group Hezb ut-Tahrir was arrested. In particular, unemployment has caused many young people in Uzbekistan to turn to the radical group, demanding an Islamic state. Hundreds of supporters of Hezb ut-Tahrir were arrested earlier this year.
The opposition said the regime used, and partly also staged, assaults during the year to be able to strike against the opposition and imprison its representatives before the parliamentary elections in early December. The OSCE, which did not consider that the country’s electoral laws could give free and fair elections, did not send any official observer group to the election. Five government-friendly parties were running, while the country’s main opposition parties were banned and their leaders were in exile. Parliament has no real power; it is in the hands of the president.
In December, the authorities publicly burned more than two tonnes of drugs seized during the year. Uzbekistan has a growing problem with smuggling from Afghanistan, but also with increased domestic production of drugs.
Samarkand and Bukhara – where the blue domes of longing and prayer calls echo from the minarets
Many of us dream of distant places whose mere names already push the imagination into flight. The trading places for silk road caravans in Samarkand and Bukhara are such. We see the blue-tiled domes, tall minarets, and courtyards of rustling fountains in our minds, and over the hustle and bustle of the bazaar we hear the call to prayer echoing into the darkening evening. And when we finally get to these cities, we realize that what we dreamed of is completely true. According to a medieval saying, “In Samarkand lives all that is beautiful to the eye, in Bukhara again the beauty of the spirit”.
Samarkand has already celebrated its 2700th birthday. Archaeological excavations have shown that the Sogdian capital, Afrosiab, was located here. In the days of Alexander the Great, a thriving marketplace was called Marakanda. The city of blue tiles we know dates back to the 15th and 17th centuries. The most beautiful ensemble is Registan Square and is bordered by three madrasas. Timur Lenk and his heirs are buried in the mausoleum of Gur Emir. Shah-i-Zinda Cemetery is the last resting place for timurides resting in handsome mausoleums and those buried during Soviet and independence. Timur’s grandson Ulug Beg became known in his day as a major astronomer and mathematician. There are still parts of his famous observatory left. Many monuments have been erected for great love in the history of the world.
The younger Bukhara has also preceded its 2,500th birthday. The heart of the city is a fortress (Ark) built in the 16th century, where the emir with his family and guards lived. The emblem of Bukhara has become the Kalon minaret erected in the 12th century. Prayer calls were shouted from the top of it but also the approach of enemies was kept in mind. It got its name from the “Tower of Death” when the big criminals were punished for rolling down all 105 steps. By the time the city flourished in the 16th century, Bukhara was known to have 150 madrasas and 200 mosques, and the population of the oasis city was greater than that of Soviet Bukhara ever was. The surviving schools and shrines are still the city’s main attractions.
The Silk Road trade oasis on the Khiva Turkmenistan border has also survived in medieval form, even better than the other two mentioned above. From Khiva, the silk caravans first set out towards Mervi in what is now Turkmenistan and from there on towards the Mediterranean.
The current capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, is relatively young. The days of its glory did not begin until the Russians came. Lush park streets and monumental cultural and administrative buildings date back to the last 150 years. A major earthquake badly damaged Tashkent in 1966. Tourists enjoy summer time in open-air cafes and shady parks. They can also be found in the Chagatai Market Hall to sample local delicacies. You should try at least the national dish made of rice, meat and raisins, plov, and white bread in the shape of a sunflower, as well as melons, apricots, peaches or figs cooked in the heat of oases. The moment of food is crowned by Chai – enjoyed with the cheap, of course.