Memos from Asia

Myths about Uzbeks and Uzbekistan

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Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Many people probably know that Uzbekistan is situated in Central Asia. The country was one of the republics that declared independence from the USSR in 1991. The majority of people in Uzbekistan are Uzbeks. However, they live together with other nations such as other Central Asians, Russian, and Ukrainians. The Uzbek language is the only official language in the country. Most of the Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims.

Why stereotypes arise?

The history, culture, language, and many other factors may lead to wrong overgeneralized opinions about the Uzbeks. Some stereotypes make people want to see reality, while others prevent people to visit a particular place. Hence, we will dispel several common myths about the life and personality of Uzbeks.

Let’s start!

Myth No.1: Uzbekistan is somewhere between Afghanistan

The first wrong understanding of Uzbekistan is common for all Central Asian countries. The names of countries in the region end with “stan” Hence, It is easy to mislead them with Afghanistan. The stereotype of location makes it harder to attract tourists and foreign direct investment for Uzbekistan.

Myth No.2: Uzbekistan – dangerous

Many foreigners think that it is dangerous to travel to Uzbekistan. However, it is not right. Uzbekistan is stable regarding security and safety. Also, guests may be surprised due to the friendliness and hospitality of the Uzbek nation.

Myth No.3: I should wear paranja to visit

Uzbek paranja (Credit: Khushal.Khan.Nurzai, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Paranja is a female garment that covers the head and body of women. Uzbekistan is a secular country, even though over 90% of people are Muslims. There are many females, who wear a hijab in the country. However, it is not true to say that visiting Uzbekistan requires wearing a hijab or other religious garments. The point here is that it is recommended to avoid tight-fitting clothes, especially in religion-related places like mosques, mausoleums, and madrasah.

Myth No.4: They do not speak in other languages.

Many Uzbeks can speak in the Russian language due to life during Soviet times. Currently, English is also becoming prominent. The English language is taught in schools and colleges. However, the English level of Uzbek people is still low compared to other Asians.

Myth No.5: Nothing to do in Uzbekistan

Historic architecture of Itchan Kala, walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan. UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Uzbekistan is rich in culture and history. The ancestors of this nation built gems of architectural buildings, which are both interesting and spectacular. Minarets, Mosques, Madrasah, Palaces, Observatories, Museums, Theatres, and Parks are great places to make a lifetime journey. The undeveloped tourism sector made the country unable to shows its attractions to the world. However, today the government’s attention to tourism is making Uzbekistan a popular destination for foreigners.

Myth No.6: They do not like foreigners

It is also a wrong perception. Foreigners can easily make conversations in markets with locals. The majority of people are friendly and like to interact with foreigners.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Arba is a cart that is usually pulled by a donkey. You can see it in the villages. Arba is very rare in Uzbek cities. Instead, many families have at least one or two cars. There is an underground in the capital city- Tashkent. Discover.

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