People of the Great Silk Road - Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan today is the country where thousands-old antiquity exists in harmony with modern civilization. Harmonious correlation of times is seen everywhere. Ancient monuments, Old Town houses made of adobe bricks stand next to many-storied sky scraping buildings constructed in accordance with the unique designs worked out by architects of the 20th century. The traditions of the people are being carefully preserved.
Arts and crafts have been developing here throughout the centuries; their secrets have been passed from generation to generation as great treasure. The unique works of unknown masters strike you dumb by the flight of fancy. In the present-day Uzbekistan traditional cultural values are being treated with great care, the state supports revival of the arts and crafts, contributing to their further development. Uzbek ceramics, embossing, wood carving, golden embroidery, carpets, varnished miniature, jewellery are well known far outside our country.

Non-material heritage is not less unique and has been acknowledged by UNESCO. For example, the folklore singing of Baysun district, Surkhandarya Province, Uzbekistan, is included as a cultural object in UNESCO list to be protected by the international community. Melodiousness and oriental rhythms of ritual songs and musical compositions sung and played in other regions of the country are amazing too.

The institution of family remains firm in Uzbekistan. It is considered one of the most important values of life. Uzbekistan is notable for the world's lowest divorce rate. As a rule, Uzbek families have many children, especially in the rural areas, where women are mostly housewives. They combine housework with arts and crafts such as hand-spinning, embroidery, carpet weaving. Their works are common in any local house, which Uzbek women usually decorate with great love. The settled way of life made people look after their houses very carefully. Inner yards and even the streets next to houses are kept very clean.

Nowadays, along with the clothing of European style the Uzbeks wear national clothing, especially on holidays. Men usually wear striped quilted robe, belted with a beautiful sash, and a skullcap to cover their heads. Women wear loose bright dresses made of traditional fabrics: khan-atlas, bekasam, kalami.

The dishes of National Uzbek cuisine are notable not only for their practicability but for certain skills required for their cooking. Unique Uzbek pilaf, aromatic transparent shurpa (soup), juicy manti made of dough bags and meat, shashlyk with its smack of smoke and spices are famous all over the world. It would be unthinkable to have a dastarkhan (table-cloth) without greens, vegetables, fruit, sun-fed melons and bunches of grapes. Melting on the tongue sweets, nuts and almonds cooked by grandmother's recipes complement the dastarkhan. Green tea is a favourite drink of the Uzbeks. It quenches thirst on a sultry day.

Uzbekistan is truly an amazing land with original national culture where the heritage of ancient times is being carefully preserved and a society with modern economy and developed science and art is being simultaneously built.

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