Friday, February 12, 2016

Kyzylkum desert unusual winter snows

The Uzbek Kyzylkum desert covered with snow
Source: State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection
This winter the Kyzylkum desert (in summer one of the hottest places in Uzbekistan) has seen a lot of snow which is a rarely observed phenomenon.

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The Kyzyl Kum (red) desert is located between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, north of the Karakum (black) desert. It mainly consists of sand dunes and is located on a vast plateau (with an average elevation of 300 m above sea level in the southeast and 53 m in the northwest). Temperatures can be very high during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September (up +50 °C in July ) and relatively cold winters (from 0 °C to –9 °C in January). The annual precipitation is low, from 100 mm to 200 mm, most of which falls in winter and spring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The father of Algebra - The great mathamatician Al-Khwarizmi

Muhammad ibn Musa Khwarizmi (780-850 CE), from Khwarezm was the greatest scientist of his time, working in mathematics, geography, and astronomy. From a variant of his name "Al-Khwarizimi", has come the word "algorism," and logarithm. The word 'algorithm' for a long time signified arithmetic, or at any rate any process involving repeated calculation. He wrote a treatise in Arabic language in the 9th century, which was translated into Latin in the 12th century under the title Algoritmi de numero Indorum. This title means "Algoritmi on the numbers of the Indians", where "Algoritmi" was the translator's Latinization of Al-Khwarizmi's name. Al-Khwarizmi was the most widely read mathematician in Europe in the late Middle Ages, primarily through his other book, known in the west as the "Algebra"

Al-Khwarizmi wrote in about 825 CE this treatise on Algebra entitled 'Kitab al Mukhtassar fi'l hisab al jabr wa'l muqabalah' (Compendious Book of Calculation by Completion and Balancing). The book used squares, roots, and numbers to describe equations. It also introduced the concept of forcing of one side to be equal the other. This was termed the completing part. Balancing was done by subtracting the same amount from both sides of the equation. His work also included the concept of Algorithm, which is used in our everyday lives. In addition to writing the first arithmetic using numerals, this work became 'the prototype' for all works on Algebra and is undoubtedly the beginning of algebraic calculus and decimal arithmetic.In it he gave numerous detailed examples.

Kitab al-mukhtasar was also instrumental in introducing the numerical system and the use of the zero, which derives from the Arabic sifr, 'void. It also introduced a method similar to long division to extract the square root (jithr) of a number and was the first to introduce the concept of mal (power) for the squared unknown variable. In he gave geometrical solutions of quadratic equations. And set out geometric representations of quadratic equations having two variables, e.g. the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola (conic sections) etc. He also dealt with measuring areas and volumesIt was also the first work in which that word Algebra appears in the mathematical sense, 'Algebra' meaning in Arabic 'restoration', that is the transposing of negative terms of an equation and set algebra as a subject independent of geometry" This is perhaps one of the most significant advances ever made in mathematics and was a revolutionary move away from the Greek concept of mathematics which was essentially geometry. Algebra was a unifying theory which allowed rational numbers, irrational numbers, geometrical magnitudes, etc., to all be treated as "algebraic objects". It gave mathematics a whole new development path so much broader in concept to that which had existed before, and provided a vehicle for future development of mathematics in later times.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Khwarezm Shahs Dynasty

The Khwarazmian also known as the Khwarezmid dynasty was ruled by kings known a Khwarazm Shahs, was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin. The dynasty ruled large parts of Central Asian during the High Middle Ages first as vassals of the Seljuqs and Kara-Khitanand later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia by the Mongols in the 13th century.
The Khwarazmian dynasty dates from a revolt in 1017 where Khwarezmian rebels murdered Abu'l-Abbas Ma'mun and his wife, Hurra-ji, sister of the Ghaznavid sultan Mahmud. In response, Mahmud invaded and occupied the region of Khwarezm, which included Nasa and the ribat of Farawa. As a result, Khwarezm became a province of the Ghaznavid Empire from 1017 to 1034. In 1077 the governorship of the province, which since 1042/1043 belonged to the Seljuqs, fell into the hands of Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkic slave of the Seljuq sultan.

  • Altun Tash 1017-1032
  • Harun 1032-1034
  • Ismail Khandan 1034-1041
Under the Oghuz (Seljuk)
  • Shah Malik 1041-1042
Anushtiginid (Seljuk Vassal)
  • Anush Tigin Garchai 1077-1097 
  • Ekinchi 1097 
  • Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I 1097-1127
  • Ala ad-Din Aziz 1127-1156
  • Il-Arslan 1156-1172
  • Sultan Shah 1172-1193
  • Ala ad-Din Tekish 1172-1200
  • Ala ad-Din Muhammad II 1200-1220
  • Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu 1220-1231

During his governorship, he assured his family's place in the region and after his death in 1128, his son Atsiz was appointed as the new governor by the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar.

Ala ad-Din Atsiz was a ruthless ruler; he laid heavy taxes on the people and began expansion his territories and Sanjar soon moved against him however let him to continue to govern the region, because a new danger was coming from the Steppes. In 1141, the Seljuq Sultan Ahmed Sanjar was defeated by the Kara Khitay at the battle of Qatwan, and Anush Tigin's grandson Ala ad-Din Atsiz became a vassal to Yelü Dashi of the Kara Khitan. After Atsiz died in 1156, he was succeeded by his son Il-Arslan. 
In 1157, Il-Arslan proclaimed his independence and defeated the Kara-Khitai and the Qarakhanids and captured important Transoxiana towns Bukhara and Samarkand. He died in 1172 his son Ala ad-Din Tekish became the new Khwarezm Shah.
As the Seljuk state fell into chaos, the Khwarezm-Shahs expanded their territories southward. Tekish invaded Khorasan in 1183 and in 1194 defeated and killed the last Sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire, Toghril III the empire gaining parts of Khorasan and western Iran. In 1200, Tekish died and was succeeded by his son, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, who soon initiated a conflict with the Ghurids however was defeated by them at the battle of Amu Darya (1204). Following the sack of Khwarizm, Muhammad appealed for aid from his suzerain, the Kara Khitai who sent him an army. With this reinforcement, Muhammad won a victory over the Ghurids at Hezarasp (1204) and forced them out of Khwarizm.
Muhammad's gratitude towards his suzerain was short-lived. He again initiated a conflict, this time with the aid of the Kara-Khanids, and defeated a Kara-Khitai army at Talas (1210), but allowed Samarkand (1210) to be occupied by the Kara-Khitai. In 1212 he overthrew the Karakhanids and by 1215 the Ghurids. In the year 1212, Muhammad II shifted capital from Gurganj (now known as "Urganch") to Samarkand. Thus Muhammad II incorporated nearly the whole of Transoxania and present-day Afghanistan into his empire, which after further conquests in western Persia (by 1217) stretched from the Syr Darya to the Zagros Mountains, and from the northern parts of the Hindu Kush to the Caspian Sea. By 1218, the empire had an area of 3,600,000 km2.and a population of 5 million people.

Genghis Khan in 1219 sent a trade mission to the state, but at the town of Otrar the governor, suspecting the Khan's ambassadors to be spies, confiscated their goods and executed them. Genghis Khan demanded reparations, which the Shah refused to pay. Genghis retaliated with a force of 200,000 men, launching a multi-pronged invasion. In February 1220 the Mongolian army crossed the Syr Darya, beginning the Mongol invasion of Central Asia. The Mongols stormed Bukhara, Gurganj and the Khwarezmid capital Samarkand. The Shah fled westward and died some weeks later of pleurisy on an island in the Caspian Sea.

The son of Ala ad-Din Muhammad, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu became the new Sultan (he rejected the title Shah). Jalal ad-Din retreated with the remaining Khwarazm forces, while pursued by a Mongol army and at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, defeated the Mongols. However being deserted by his Afghan allies, Jalal ad-Din was forced to flee towards India. At the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with him and slaughtered much of his army along with thousands of refugees at the Battle of Indus. He and part of his forces however escaped across the Indus and sought asylum in the Sultanate of Delhi. Iltumish however denied this to him in deference to the relationship with the Abbasid caliphs. The Sultan of Delhi refused, not wishing to get into a conflict with Genghis Khan, and marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated from Lahore and moved towards Uchch inflicting a heavy defeat on its ruler Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and plundered Sindh and northern Gujarat before returning to Persia in 1224. 

Once in Persia he gathered an army and re-established a kingdom. However he unable to consolidated his power, spending the rest of his days struggling against the Mongols, the Seljuks of Rum, and pretenders to his own throne. He lost control of Persia in a battle against the Mongols in the Alborz Mountains. Escaping to the Caucasus, he captured Azerbaijan in 1225, setting up his capital at Tabriz. In 1226 he attacked Georgia and sacked Tbilisi. Following on through the Armenian highlands he clashed with the Ayyubids, capturing the town Ahlat along the western shores of the Lake Van, who sought the aid of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm. Sultan Kayqubad I defeated him at Arzinjan on the Upper Euphrates at the Battle of Yassıçemen in 1230. He escaped to Diyarbakir, while the Mongols conquered Azerbaijan in the ensuing confusion. He was murdered in 1231 by Kurdish assassins.

Sultan Jalal ad-Din's followers remained loyal to him even after his death in 1231, and raided the Seljuk lands of Jazira and Syria for the next several years, calling themselves the Khwarezmiyya. Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub, in Egypt, later hired their services against his uncle as-Salih Ismail. The Khwarezmiyya, heading south from Iraq towards Egypt, invaded Crusader Christian-held Jerusalem along the way, on July 11, 1244. The city's citadel, the Tower of David, surrendered on August 23, the Crusaders expelled. This triggered a call from Europe for the Seventh Crusade, but the Crusaders would never again be successful in retaking Jerusalem. After being conquered by the Khwarezmian forces, the city stayed under Muslim control until 1917 until it was taken from the Ottomans by British and Australian forces in WW1.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Postcards from Uzbekistan: The Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva

Go to Postcards from Uzbekistan: The Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva: This Postcard video comes from Euronews and features the north west of Uzbekistan and the ancient city of Khiva. Behind the fortress of the inner-town called Itchan-Kala, visitors are met with the beautiful site of the Kalta Minor, which means short minaret – but is also known as the Unfinished or Blue Minaret. It is one of the most beautiful structures in all of Central Asia - its really quite amazing up close!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Uzbekistan Potashi issues stamp on the Aral Sea Catastrophie

Photo: The stamp shows an image of a ship stranded by the ecologic catastrophe that has led to the drying out of the Aral Sea. The stamp block is 52x37mm. (Issue 7,000)

Source :

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bats of Uzbekistan

A bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight. Around 1,000 bat species can be found worldwide. They make up a quarter of all mammal species, some bats consume insects others fruit and nectar. Some are carnivorous preying on small mammals, birds, lizards and frogs/fish.
Uzbekistan 2001 Endangered Animals Stamps: Bats 7 value set featuring Hemprich's Long-eared Bat, Greater Noctule Bat, Lesser Horseshoe Bat, Noctule, Eastern Barbastelle, European Free-tailed Bat and Myotis frater
Some bat populations number in the millions, others are dangerously low or in decline. Bats have evolved a highly sophisticated sense of hearing. They emit sounds that bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. From these echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how fast they are traveling and even their texture, all in a split second. Bats find shelter in caves, crevices, tree cavities and buildings. Some species are solitary while others form colonies of more than a million individuals. For their size, bats are the slowest reproducing mammals. At birth, a pup weighs up to 25 percent of its mother’s body weight, which is like a human mother giving birth to a 15kg baby. Offspring typically are cared for in maternity colonies, where females congregate to bear and raise the young. Male bats do not help to raise the pups. In Uzbekistan the following bat species have been found (this list is not exhaustive but the main bat species in Uzbekistan are):

Order: Chiroptera Family: Vespertilionidae  Subfamily: Myotinae
Genus: Myotis
Long-fingered bat Myotis capaccinii Vu
Geoffrey's bat Myotis emarginatus Vu
Natterer’s bat Myotis nattereri Lr/Lc
Whiskered bat Myotis mystacinus Lr/Lc
Fraternal myotis Myotis frater Lr/Nt

Subfamily: Vespertilioninae
Genus: Eptesicus
Bobrinski's bat Eptesicus bobrinskoi Lr/Lc
Botta's serotine Eptesicus bottae Lc
Serotine Eptesicus serotinus Lr/Lc
Northern Bat Eptesicus nilssonii  Lc

Subfamily: Vespertilioninae Genus: Nyctalus  
Lesser noctule Nyctalus leisleri Lr/Nt
Greater noctule bat Nyctalus lasiopterus Lr/Nt

Subfamily: Vespertilioninae
Genus: Pipistrellus 
Common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus Lc
Kuhl’s pipistrelle Pipistrellus kuhlii Lc
Savi’s pipistrelle Hypsugo savii Lc

Subfamily: Vespertilioninae
Genus: Hemprichii
Hemprich's long eared Bat Otonycteris hemprichii Lc.

Order: Chiroptera Family: Rhinolophidae 
Subfamily: Rhinolophinae
Genus: Rhinolophus
Bokhara horseshoe bat Rhinolophus bocharicus Lr/Lc
Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum Lr/Nt
Lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros Lc

Notes: Vu vulnerable    
Lr/Lc  Low Risk/Less concern
Lr/Nt Low risk/Not threatened

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Regional Uzbek Dialects

About 25 million people speak Uzbek as their native language, it is spoken in Uzbekistan and parts of ; north western and eastern Turkmenistan, northern and western Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan, northern Afghanistan, and northwestern China. Uzbek belongs to the southeastern, or Chagatai, branch of the Turkic languages (part of the Altaic family of languages).

Uzbek is closely related to both Uyghur and Kazak. Although numerous local dialects and variations of the language are in use, the Tashkent dialect is the basis of the official written language. Especially in the written dialect, Uzbek also has a strong Persian vocabulary element that stems from the historical influence of the Persian language in Central Asia.

Uzbek dialects are diverse and have elements of all three Turkic dialect groups such as Qarluq, Qipchaq, and Oghuz. There are many classifications of Uzbek dialects, based on phonetic and lexical features. The main classifications and their proponents are: Iranised and Non-Iranised dialects (Polivanov), “O” dialect group and “A” dialect group (Borovkov), Qarluq-Uyghur-Chigil, Qipchaq, and the Oghuz dialect groups (Reshetov).
Grammatical Features
The Uzbek language shares most features common to most of the Turkic languages:
  • Uzbek is an agglutinative language;
  • Suffixes are added to a word in a fixed order;
  • Uzbek lacks grammatical gender;
  • Uzbek is a Subject-Object-Verb order language;
  • In Uzbek there are no definite and indefinite articles, instead the word “bir” and the accusative case marker are used to express indefiniteness and definiteness;
  • In Uzbek there are various participles, gerunds, and verbal nouns that replace relative clause structures found in English;
  • In Uzbek modifiers precede the modified head nouns;
  • In Uzbek word roots are mostly monosyllabic;
  • In Uzbek most words carry stress on the final syllable.
In the creation of a new literary language after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a dominant role was first played by the northern dialects and later by the southern dialects. The latter serve as the basis of the current literary language. Vowel harmony is not reflected in modern literary Uzbek as it is not used in either the Tashkent and Ferghana dialects.  Uzbek has been written in the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic scripts.

 In 1993 the government of Uzbekistan officially reinstated a modified Latin alphabet for the Uzbek language. Despite the official status of the Latin script in Uzbekistan, the use of Cyrillic is still widespread, especially in advertisements and signs. In newspapers, scripts may be mixed, with headlines in Latin and articles in Cyrillic.
The term Uzbek as applied to language has meant different things at different times. Prior to 1921 "Uzbek" and "Sart" were considered to be different dialects. "Uzbek" was a vowel-harmonised Qipchak dialect spoken by descendants of those who arrived in Transoxiana with Shaybani Khan in the 16th century, who lived mainly around Bukhara and Samarkand, although the Turkic spoken in Tashkent was also vowel-harmonised; whereas "Sart" was a Qarluq dialect spoken by the older settled Turkic populations of the region in the Fergana Valley and the Kashka-Darya region, and in some parts of what is now the Samarkand Province; it contained a heavier admixture of Persian and Arabic, and had no or only a modified form of vowel-harmony.

Qipchak-Uzbek dialects spoken in southern Kazakhstan, Karakalpakstan and parts of Khoresm are close to both Karakalpak/Kazakh.

In Khiva and northern eastern Turkmenistan the Uzbek dialects are heavily influenced heavily by the neighbouring Oghuz (Turkmen) speaking population.

Other Links:
Orthographic Rules for the Uzbek Language:

Outline of Uzbek Grammar: