Though Soviet rule came to an end in 1991 and Uzbekistan has been an independent nation since that time, the country remains locked into a dictatorial government with a nasty attitude.Uzbekistan is a country that wants tourists to stick to a planned itinerary.

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Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, a second, less intensive phase followed.

At the start of the nineteenth century, there were some 3,200 kilometres separating British India and the outlying regions of Tsarist Russia. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Central Asia was firmly in the hands of Russia, and despite some early resistance to Bolsheviks, Uzbekistan and the rest of Central Asia became a part of the Soviet Union.

Less than 10% of its territory is cultivated and/or irrigated land, mainly in river valleys and oases; the remainder is desert (Kyzyl Kum) and mountains.

The highest mountain in Uzbekistan is the Khazret Sultan at 4,643 metres above sea level, and is located in the southern part of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, along the border with Tajikistan.

Despite this slight turn-off, Uzbekistan has enough going for it to still attract visitors.

Among Central Asian countries, it is arguably the most interesting; cities like Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara have been around over a thousand years and bear the signs of a long, rich past: mosques, mausolea and minarets stand as proud testimonies to the Timurid period in the 14th century.

In the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire began to expand and spread into Central Asia.

The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.

The first people known to have occupied Central Asia were Iranian nomads who arrived from the northern grasslands of what is now Uzbekistan sometime in the first millennium BC.

These nomads, who spoke Iranian dialects, settled in Central Asia and began to build an extensive irrigation system along the rivers of the region.

At this time, cities such as Bukhoro (Bukhara) and Samarqand (Samarkand) began to appear as centers of government and culture.