About Uzbekistan

“Uzbekistan - Turquoise Steppe” documentary screening held in Brussels
12 March 2020
“Uzbekistan - Turquoise Steppe” documentary screening held in Brussels

The official launch of the project on the screening of the documentary “Uzbekistan - Turquoise Steppe” (“Ouzbèkistan - la turquoise des steppes”) by the famous French director Gilles Uber took place in 19 cultural centers of Belgium and Luxemburg.

The project is being implemented by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in the Benelux countries together with the Belgian non-governmental organization “Exploration du Monde”.

The movie was shot in 2017 by Gilles Uber and his wife Danielle Uber during their 4 months trip to Uzbekistan. 

The idea of the film was born during a tour of Gilles Uber and his wife Danielle Uber in 2017 in the countries of Central Asia, the Middle East, India, Siberia and the Far East. They shot the movie while traveling for 4 months in Uzbekistan.

“In the heart of Central Asia, between the steppes and deserts, the route along the legendary silk roads makes us discover Uzbekistan: a secular country with strong traditions, remnants of rare elegance and hospitality,” the film says. - Enjoy a delicious breakfast before setting off to explore the planet. This separate universe is part of the Silk Road, used to exchange both rare and precious materials, as well as know-how, sciences, religions and philosophy. The author of a fascinating motion picture, Gilles Uber and his wife Daniel, have been in Uzbekistan for almost four months, having visited both the deserts of the Aral Sea and the capital, Tashkent, in between living in such beautiful tourist cities as Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva. ”

Representatives of European External Action Service, European Parliament, the diplomatic corps accredited in Brussels, cultural centers, travel agencies, expert-analytical sectors of the country, journalists, as well as Uzbek citizens living in Europe attended the launch ceremony.

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Uzbekistan Dilyor Hakimov greeted the visitors and briefed about Uzbekistan’s current development activities and reforms. He introduced the guests to the touristic and economic potential of the country, rich in historical and cultural heritage. The Ambassador also mentioned the measures on developing the Great Silk Road concept in cooperation with UNWTO. The unique cultural and historical heritage of the countries of the Great Silk Road region is being promoted within the frame of the current concept. According to UNWTO, 80% of world travelers are familiar with the “Silk Road”, whereas the powerful economic edition “Forbes” considers the current concept as one of the major brands. 

Vice-president of the EXPLO (“Exploration du Monde” NGO) Arnaud Van Schevensteen also noted that his organization is planning to take an active part in various events dedicated to traditions and culture of different nations and nationalities.

The author of the movie Gilles Uber shared his impressions of the Uzbekistan trip with the guests and told that he tried his best to learn the cultural aspects of Uzbek civilization deeply and aimed to deliver it to the audience. During the filming process he met and talked with many people, who have left an unforgettable impression on him.

As mentioned by the creators of the movie, it serves as an invitation for Belgians to open new Uzbekistan for themselves. 

“This extraordinary documentary demonstrates the unique identity of the Uzbek nation. I have traveled all over Central Asia, and Uzbekistan stands out amongst all of those countries. Uzbek culture is so rich and diverse that the film was not able to capture and encompass all of the great diversity and colors that Uzbekistan is famous for” - said Tony Van der Eecken, Deputy Director of the Music Department of the Fine Arts Centre BOZAR ART.

“We have been closely cooperating with the diplomatic missions of Central Asian countries in Brussels, and for instance, we celebrate Navruz holiday together. Thanks to our mutual cooperation Navruz has become popular outside the region, particularly in Brussels” – he also added.

Giles Merritt, the Founder and Director of the Analytical Center FRIENDS OF EUROPE mentioned that he was very impressed by the movie, especially since they are planning to visit Uzbekistan soon. He said that after watching the documentary he definitely made sure that the trip should take place without postponing.    

 “The movie talks about the unique country starting from Karakaplakstan region ending in the cities of the Great Silk Road. It has visually demonstrated the audience with all the advantages and bounties of Uzbekistan, giving a reason to visit the country for sure” – Alberto Turkstra, the Chief Researcher of EIAS (European Institute for Asian Studies).

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Did you know?

Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!

Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°

Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia

Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.

It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.

Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.

When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you.  What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full.  If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately.  Doing it means you want them to leave.  Wow!  Amazing, right?

To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot.  For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's.  Example: Linda-opa and David-aka.  You could also use hon and jon respectively.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.

One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death. 

Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.

You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region

Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)

Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.

Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.

Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.

If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!

Uzbekistan has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Uzbekistan 5th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Top five safest countries:

  • Singapore
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Uzbekistan
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