Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to its storied history and strategic location. Its first major official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population. Russian has widespread use as a governmental language; it is the most widely taught second language.
The Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution. In September 2017, the country's currency became fully convertible in the market rates. Uzbekistan is a major producer and exporter of cotton. The country also operates the largest open-pit gold mine in the world. With the gigantic power-generation facilities of the Soviet era and an ample supply of natural gas, Uzbekistan has become the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Renewable energy constitutes more than 23% of the country's energy sector
The main type of accommodation for nomadic Uzbek people was yurta up to XIX century. After changing to settled life (end of XIX c.) they began to build wattle and daub houses. For this time yurta used only by stock keepers for summer period.
At that time each young man going to marry had to have his own yurta. According to customs of kipchaks and karluks the man without yurta couldn’t marry. Yurta for newlywed was built from white felt. But if the groom didn’t have enough money, they would use common white cloth.
Uzbek yurta doesn’t have great differences from Turkmen, Kirgiz, Kazakh and Karakalpak yurts. The main difference is in decoration and other unimportant details. So we can say that the culture and everyday life of these peoples was closely connected.
Prefabricated grating was the main structure of yurta. The builders used bent uks (sticks) for covering, which was connected with woolen ropes. Bright and long lace around the yurta was the main decoration of construction. The entrance was decorated by wing door calling “erganak”.
Uzbek cuisine shares the culinary traditions of Turkic peoples across Central Asia. There is a great deal of grain farming in Uzbekistan, so breads and noodles are of importance, and Uzbek cuisine has been characterized as “noodle-rich”. Mutton is a popular variety of meat due to the abundance of sheep in the country and it is a part of various Uzbek dishes.
Uzbekistan’s signature dish is palov (plov or osh or “pilaf”), a main course typically made with rice, pieces of meat, grated carrots and onions. It is usually cooked in a kazan (or deghi) over an open fire; chickpeas, raisins, barberries, or fruit may be added for variation. Although often prepared at home for family and guests by the head of household or the housewife, palov is made on special occasions by the oshpaz, or the osh master chef, who cooks the national dish over an open flame, sometimes serving up to 1,000 people from a single cauldron on holidays or occasions such as weddings. Oshi nahor, or “morning plov”, is served in the early morning (between 6 and 9 am) to large gatherings of guests, typically as part of an ongoing wedding celebration.
Other notable national dishes include: shurpa (shurva or shorva), a soup made of large pieces of fatty meat (usually mutton) and fresh vegetables; norin and lagman, noodle-based dishes that may be served as a soup or a main course; manti (also called qasqoni), chuchvara, and somsa, stuffed pockets of dough served as an appetizer or a main course; dimlama (a meat and vegetable stew) and various kebabs, usually served as a main course.
Green tea is the national hot beverage taken throughout the day; teahouses (chaikhanas) are of cultural importance. The more usual black tea is preferred in Tashkent. Both are typically taken without milk or sugar. Tea always accompanies a meal, but it is also a drink of hospitality, automatically offered green or black to every guest. Ayran, a chilled yogurt drink, is popular in the summer, but does not replace hot tea.
The use of alcohol is less widespread than in the west. Uzbekistan has 14 wineries, the oldest and most famous being the Khovrenko Winery in Samarkand (est. 1927). The Samarkand Winery produces a range of dessert wines from local grape varieties: Gulyakandoz, Shirin, Aleatiko, and Kabernet likernoe (literally Cabernet dessert wine in Russian). Uzbek wines have received international awards and are exported to Russia and other countries in Central Asia.
The choice of desserts in Uzbek cuisines are limited. A typical festive meal ends with fruit or a compote of fresh or dried fruit, followed by nuts and halvah with green tea
KOK BORU Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity UNESCO
Kok boru, a traditional horse game, is a synthesis of traditional practices, performances and the game itself. It is a traditional game played by two teams on horseback, where players try to manoeuvre with a goat’s carcass (replaced with a mould in modern-day games), or ‘ulak’, and score by putting it into the opponents’ goal. The community of bearers includes players united in higher league, semi-professional and amateur teams, as well as the general public. The most experienced players serve as referees, while another category consists of the ‘Kalystar’ (elders), who ensure the fairness of the game. The element is an expression of the cultural and historic tradition and spiritual identity of its practitioners and serves to unite communities regardless of social status, fostering a culture of teamwork, responsibility and respect. Knowledge related to the element is primarily transmitted naturally by means of demonstration, as well as during festive and social events, and the community concerned is actively involved in ensuring its viability through the transmission of knowledge and skills, research and the organization of training. The National Kok-Boru Federation, established in 1998, plays a key role in promoting and safeguarding the element through the development and organization of activities.