Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu - A Short Biography of Khorezms most famous son

Photo: Jalal ad din Manguberdi

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu al-Khwarazmi (full name: Jalal ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abul-Muzaffar Manguberdi ibn Muhammad) or Jaloladdin Manguberdi (Turkic for "God-given"), also known as Jalâl ad-Dîn Khwârazmshâh, was the last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire. Following the defeat of his father, Ala ad-Din Muhammad II by Genghis Khan in 1220, Jalal ad-Din Mengübirti came to power but he rejected the title shah that his father had assumed and called himself simply Sultan. After the fall of Samarkand Jalal ad-Din with the remaining Khwarazm forces beat a forced retreat into Afghanistan, while pursued by a Mongol army. At the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, the Khwarezmians with local Afghan Tajik allies defeated the Mongols (ED: the only time in Gengiz Khans lifetime that the Mongols were defeated in battle -  Interestingly even to this day no foreign army however mighty has ever been able to hold sway in Afghanistan).

After being deserted by his Afghan allies (as legend has it over a dispute about whom would have the white steed of the defeated Mongol General) the Mongols regrouped and soon after Jalal ad-Din and his troops were forced to flee towards India. On the left bank of the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with the Kharwarezms and at what has become known as the Battle of Indus inflicted a major blow against his army, killing most of his men along with slaughtering thousands of civilians with his army. He and his core followers famously putting up a heroic struggle against huge odds along the banks of the river, with the survivors including Mingburnu escaping across the Indus.

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu was to spend the next three years in exile in India. Entering into an alliance with the Khokhars he captured Lahore and much of the Punjab. The next year he requested an alliance with Iltutmish against the Mongols. However the Sultan of Delhi refused, not wishing to get into a conflict with Genghis Khan and instead marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated from the city and moved towards Uchch inflicting a heavy defeat on its ruler Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and occupied Sindh and northern Gujarat before returning to Persia in 1224.

Once again he gathered an army and briefly re-established a kingdom, however he was unable to consolidate his power for long as once again his forces were pursued by the Mongols who met his forces in battle in the Alborz mountain range (located in northern Iran  stretching from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea) after which he and his men had to make a forced crossing of the Caucasus whereupon they captured Azerbaijan in 1225, setting up their capital at Tabriz. After initially forming an alliance with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm against the Mongols, Manguberdi fell out with them and his forces went on the attack once more in 1226 sacking Tbilisi (capital of the Kingdom of Georgia). Several years of skirmishes were to follow and in 1230 his army captured the town then Armenian city Akhlat (now situated in Turkey) from the Ayyubids. However his forces were overextended and in 1230 where defeated by Sultan Kayqubad I the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm at Erzincan on the Upper Euphrates at the famous Battle of Yassıçemen (Yassi Chemen).

Once again he and a core group of followers managed to escape into the Mountains of Kurdistan finding refugee in the city of Diyarbakir, however in the ensuring confusion the Mongols capture his previous stronghold of Azerbaijan. (ED: Diyarbakir today is one of the largest cities in south eastern Turkey and in the heartland of the Kurdish struggle for self determination). Diyarbakir was to be his last sanctuary, as he was assassinated there in 1231 by a Kurdish assassin hired by the Seljuks.

Manguberdi's loyal followers, however, remained loyal to him even after his death, transforming themselves into a mercenary force called the Khwarezmiyya. Thirteen years later they made history when in pay of the Ayyubid Sultan Salih Ayyub of Egypt, the Khwarezmiyya they invaded Christian-held Jerusalem, capturing the city's citadel, the Tower of David; and on July 11, 1244, forcing the surrender of the crusader army. Of great note is that after being conquered by the Khwarezmiyya, Jerusalem would stay under control of Islamic sovereignty until 1917,  near the end of World War I, when it was taken from the Ottomans by victorious British and Commonwealth forces.(ED: The Australian Light Horse brigade playing a critical role in the battle).

Video: Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu (2:08)


Uzbekistan 25 som 1999 "Jaloliddin Manguberdi" the last Khwârazmshâh

Plates: Uzbekistan 25 Som 1999 - 800th Anniversary of
the birth of Jaloliddin Manguberdi (1198—1231)

Composition: Nickel Plated Steel
Weight: 5.9
Diameter: 27
Thickness: 1.7
Punch: Medal Alignment
Shape: Round
Edge: Plain

Friday, December 27, 2013

Case Study - Shakhpakhty Condensate Gas Field Karakalpakstan

Diagram: Hydrocarbon survey, exploration and production areas in Uzbekistan (Ustyurt region) Source: Gazprom website

Shakhpakhty Gas Field

Shakhpakhty is a gas condensate field located in Uzbekistan in the southeastern part of the Ustyurt Plateau within the Kungrad Region of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, and was discovered in 1962. Geological surveys carried out here before 1968 confirmed initial commercial gas reserves in the amount of 46.5 billion cubic metres.

Commercial production began at Shakhpakhty in 1974, comprising 2.5 billion cubic metres per year. In 1983, the Shakhpakhty booster compressor station began operation, but was stopped in February 2002 due to inadequate power for the required upstream gas supply pressure. At that time, the operating organisation decided to shut down production and the wells were preserved. During the initial production period, 36.5 billion cubic metres of gas were produced from the deposit, which was then approximately 78.5% of the initially confirmed reserves.

In early 2003 a feasibility study was prepared in for investment in the follow-up Shakhpakhty field development based on the production sharing agreement with subsequent construction of  a new UGS facility. The reconstruction and further development of Shakhpakhty was carried out under a Production Sharing Agreement signed in 2004 for a period of 15 years.

In May 2004 Gazprom zarubezhneftegaz and Gas Project Development Central Asia AG established Zarubezhneftegaz  – GPD Central Asia as the field operator to implement the PSA. Under the PSA terms and conditions the investor obtained licenses for the rights to use subsurface resources, to produce and sell gas.

In August 2004 the consortium commenced the operations on the re-entry of wells and natural gas production. The work included surface construction and development, production and distribution of raw materials and the construction of the corresponding infrastructures, gas purification and storage, performing environmental protection measures amongst other activities.

Concurrently with resuming natural gas production, the operator started upgrading of the Shakhpakhty gas field infrastructure to boost the capacity for gas collection, treatment and transmission from the field to the Shakhpakhty booster compressor station (BCS) and gas compressor station at Karakalpakia.The gas produced at Shakhpakhty after leaving the Karakalpakia compressor station to be sent through the Central Asia-Centre gas pipeline to consumers in the C.I.S and Europe

In 2006 the Shakhpakhty booster compressor station and preliminary gas treatment works and base camp were completed.  Between 2005 and 2008 several wells were overhauled with a view to expand the producing well stock and extend the well service life. In 2010 the operator received a license for developing three additional underlying productive formations.

Sources: and

Oil and Gas Industry in Uzbekistan

The Oil and gas industry is one of the leading industries in Uzbekistan. About of 60 % of the country’s area has a potential for oil and gas exploitation. Currently there are some 211 hydrocarbon fields opened in the five oil and gas regions of Uzbekistan. Of which 108 – gas and gas condensate, 103 – oil and gas, oil-gas condensate and oil. Over 50 % of gas and oilfields are under development, 35 % are being prepared for the development, and on the others exploration is ongoing. Uzbekistan ranks the 8th place in the world’s leading producer of natural gas. Proved reserves of Natural Gas are 1.841 trillion cu.m. (1 January 2012 est.)

Note: proved reserves are those quantities of natural gas, which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with a high degree of confidence to be commercially recoverable from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions.

Karakalpakstan National Anthem

State Anthem of the Republic of Karakalpakstan – Qaraqalpaqstan Ryespublikasi'ni'n' ma'mlyekyetlik gimni. Go to Karakalpakstan National Anthem

Uzbek Language

Uzbek the official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is an Eastern Turkic language and is similar to a number of other eastern Turkic languages including Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Azerbaijani. There are currently some 23.5 million Uzbek speakers mainly in living in the Republic of Uzbekistan, but also amongst the diaspora and neighbouring states including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey(Asia), Turkmenistan, Ukraine also Uzbek speakers found in Australia, China, Germany, Israel and the USA.

Uzbek belongs to the Qarluq family of Turkic languages, and consequently its lexicon and grammar are most closely linked to the Uighur language, while other influences arose from Persian, Arabic and Russian.

The influence of Islam, and by extension, Arabic, is evident in Uzbek, as well as the residual influence of Russian, from the time when Uzbekistan was under czarist and Soviet domination. Most of the Arabic words have found their way into Uzbek through Persian. Uzbek shares much Persian and Arabic vocabulary with neighboring languages such as Persian and its eastern dialects (Tajik and Dari).

The Uzbek language has many dialects, varying widely from region to region, but three main dialects, namely, Qarluq (spoken in the Ferghana Valley, Tashkent, the Kashka-Darya region, and in some parts of the Samarkand province). It contains a heavier admixture of Persian and Arabic), Kipchak (closely related to Kazakh/Karakalpak and spoken in Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya and in the regions around Bukhara and Samarkand) and Oghuz (closely related to Turkmen and spoken in Khorezm and Karakalpakstan) are differentiated. The commonly understood dialect Qarluq is used in mass media and in most printed material.

In Afghanistan a related but distinct and separate language (Grimes 1992), Southern Uzbek, is spoken by about 1.4 million people. It should also be noted that the term Uzbek has been used, especially in the early 20th century, to refer loosely to other Turkic languages in the region.

An early form of Uzbek, known as Chagatai Uzbek (after one of the sons of Genghis Khan) and written with the Arabic script, emerged as a literary language in the 14th century. A version of the Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script in 1927, and was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940. Until 1992, Uzbek almost everywhere continued to be written using the Cyrillic alphabet. Today in Uzbekistan the Latin script has been officially re-introduced, although the use of Cyrillic is still widespread.

This profile focuses on Uzbek (or Northern Uzbek) as spoken in Uzbekistan.

Uzbek is a member of the Eastern Turkic (or Karlik) group of languages which also includes Uighur. Eastern Turkic is a subgroup of Common Turkic which also includes Turkish, Azerbaijani, Tartar, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, and others. The Turkic languages, and the Mongolian-Tungus (Manchu-Tungusic) languages of Siberia and northeastern China are major divisions of the Altaic family or phylum (see Ruhlen 1987).

The major dialects recognized within Uzbek are Karluko, Chigile, Kypchak, Oghuz, Qurama, Lokhay, and Sart. Oghuz might be a dialect of Khorasani Turkish rather than a dialect of Uzbek (Grimes 1992). Some claim that at least twelve other dialects exist in addition to standard Uzbek, all of which differ considerably from the standard form in sound system, word formation, and vocabulary (Akiner 1989).


Nonstandard Uzbek had been written with a version of the Arabic alphabet ever since the Arab conquest of the ninth century (Fierman 1985). During the Timurid dynasty (late fifteenth century) Turkish, in the form of the Chaghatai dialect, became a literary language in its own right.(ED: In modern Uzbekistan, Chaghatai is called Old Uzbek).

Between 1926 and 1927, preliminary work was done in Uzbekistan to shift the alphabet from the Arabic to the Roman alphabet, which was adopted by the late 1920s. In 1940, the writing system underwent another shift from the Roman to the Cyrillic alphabet.

In September 1993 Uzbekistan announced plans to switch its alphabet from Cyrillic, which by that time had been in use for more than fifty years, to a script based on a modified Latin alphabet similar to that used in Turkey.

The official name of the country in Cyrillic was Uzbekiston, with a breve accent over the Cyrillic U; now in roman script the country is known as O`zbekiston, with an open quote after the O.

The use of O for what was formerly a long A is a feature of Uzbek phonetics. Many places have official names that are at variance with the more familiar spellings, e.g. the capital is Toshkent rather than Tashkent. The autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan is officially Qoraqalpog`iston Respublikasi (and the Kara-Kalpak people are Qoraqalpoq); and Nukus is Nuqus. (ED: Karakalpaks in Karakalpak language are called Qaraqalpaq and their capital Nukus is Nökis).

Like all of the Turkic languages, Uzbek is agglutinative, that is, grammatical functions are indicated by adding various suffixes to fixed stems. Separate suffixes on nouns indicate both gender and number, but there is no grammatical gender. There are five nominal cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative; number is marked by a plural suffix. Verbs agree with their subjects in case and number, and, as in nouns, separate identifiable suffixes perform these functions. There are also suffixes for tense, aspect, and mood.

Subject-Object -Verb word order in Uzbek is a typical Turkic characteristic, but other orders are possible under certain discourse situations. As a SOV language where objects precede the verb, Uzbek has post-positions rather than prepositions, and relative clauses that precede the verb.

Uzbek has 10 vowels, and 25 consonants. Unlike other Turkic languages, it only has a very reduced form of vowel harmony operating (whereby the vowels of suffixes must harmonize with the vowels of noun and verb stems; thus, for example, if the stem has a round vowel then the vowel of the suffix must be round, and so on.)  However, whereas the system is active in colloquial forms of the spoken language, it is poorly reflected in the written language.

Lexical influences include Arabic, Persian, Tajik, and modern Russian loan words.


The Uzbeks have played an important role in their region since the beginning of the fifteenth century, when present-day Uzbek began to take shape during the modern Turkic period. At that time, a strong cultural movement advocating the use of Uzbek emerged, which led to the creation of a rich Uzbek literature, a large part of which remains unstudied. The literary language of the period has Arabic and Tajik influences especially in the area of word borrowing.

The development of written Uzbek has undergone some dialectal shifts. The first post-revolutionary standard was based on the dialect of Turkistan (ED: Uzbek speaking area of southern Kazakhstan)(Comrie 1981), in the north of the Uzbek-speaking area. Subsequently it was decided to shift the standard dialect and base it on the dialect of the capital city, Tashkent. Thus, current standard Uzbek is based largely on the dialect of Tashkent and differs considerably from the earlier standard.


(ED: Uzbek is spoken widely in Karakalpakstan, particularly in the South of the Republic)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Uzbekistan gets US$100 million ADB loan for first solar power plant

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help Uzbekistan to build a 100MW solar project, the country's first utility-scale solar power plant.

Uzbekistan is to be the first Central Asian country to build a solar power plant in a bid to develop clean energy in the region. 

The installation will be built by the state energy company Uzbekenergo across 400 hectares in the Samarkand region at an estimated cost of over US $300 million.

With 320 days of sunshine per year, Uzbekistan's geography and climate conditions are highly favourable for solar power.

In 2012, the country and ADB opened an international solar energy research facility in Tashkent which the Central Asian country hopes will eventually enable it to become a solar technology exporter. Uzbekistan is aiming to be the region's solar energy hub and leader in solar technology.

ADB will lend US$110 million from its Asian development fund to the ‘Samarkand Solar Power Project’. A further US$200 million of funding is to come from Uzbekistan’s Fund for Reconstruction and Development, and Uzbekenergo, the governing body for supplying electricity in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekenergo, which is responsible for half of central Asia’s energy generation capacity, will manage the solar project and other related facilities. The Samarkand project will take five years to develop and construct, with a completion date of 2019. The project is will be used to promote large-scale solar power in the country. It will also diversify Uzbekistan’s energy mix which is currently heavily reliant on fossil fuels and will aid Uzbekistan’s government target of 21% renewable energy generation by 2031.


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Qaraqalpaqs of the Aral Delta - New Book on the amazing Culture and History of the Karakalpaks

New book on Culture and History of the Karakalpaks by the very knowledgeable David and Sue Richardson. Published by Prestel, Munich 2012, 470 pp. with more than 1,000 colour  & b/w illustrations, notes, bibliography, appendices.  Hardbound.

See full review by Andrew Hale

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Karakalpak rug collection of the Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow

The Karakalpak rug collection of the Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow contains 52 pieces, of which 51 pieces had been collected by I.V. Savitsky in the 1950s and were presented to the museum in 1958. Almost all of them have analogues in the collection of two Nukus museums: State Museum of Karakalpak Arts and Museum of Local Lore.

A Karakalpak rug, probably 19th ct. Size 160x117 cm
The collection includes rugs from Kegeily, Chimbai, and Karauzyak and other districts of Karakalpakstan. For some time, Karakalpaks used not only their own rugs for domestic purposes but those made by Turkmens and Kazakhs as well. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the yurt played an important role in the everyday life of Karakalpaks and was used for main or supplementary lodging. In the yurt interior, diverse rug items of pile, flat-weave, and mixed technique were used: bags and sacks, decorative rugs and carpets, tent bands, and others.

Karshins and eshik kases comprise the major part of the collection. These articles are also the most numerous of all Karakalpak rugs. The karshin is a bag for garments and other cloth articles. Its average dimensions are 108-110 x 30-32 cm. It is placed in the lower part of the bedding (juk), which is placed on the trunk (sanduk). It consists of two parts: a face side woven in pile or mixed technique and a flatwoven back. The karshin is placed so that its face is visible. The eshik kas is a decorative rug for the inside, upper part of the yurt entrance. On its right and left sides are two white bands, ishki jambu, made in combined technique.

Karshin (Long Bag), pile rug Kegeily region, early 20th century Size 93x31cm

The rugs in the collection have similar features to other Central Asia designs:
1. Monumental patterns. Usually Central Asian patterns of carpets and felts are large, with clear details and repetition;
2. Medallions form the basis of design. Pattern elements are placed symmetrically on one axis; 
3. The medallions have diagonal coloration, which produces an effect of slight movement; 
4. The rug palette is strict, modest, and has a limited quantity of colours and patterns.

Nevertheless, colour and patterns produce an impression of richness and variety, which is possible due to the alternation of main colour and pattern elements and due to their skilful combination, including the use of the background colour in pattern motifs. All of this creates a unity, and harmony of colours and patterns.
Source:  The Karakalpak Rug Collection of the Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow, by L.G. Beresneva and A. S. Teselkin with a commentary by George O'Bannon, 1995 vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 12-22.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aral Sea and the Amu Darya River

The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth largest inland water body with a surface of 67,300 square kilometers. It supported a lucrative muskrat pelt industry and thriving fishery, providing 40,000 jobs and supplying the Soviet Union with a sixth of its fish catch.
The Aral Sea is fed by two of Central Asia's greatest rivers, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the north. The former is the longest river in the region, snaking through 2,414 kilometers of steppe.

In the 1950s and 60s, the  Soviet Union built an enormous irrigation network, including 20,000 Km. of canals, 45 dams, and more than 80 reservoirs, all to irrigate sprawling fields of cotton and wheat in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Many of the canals were poorly built, allowing water to leak or evaporate. From the Qaraqum Canal in Turkmenistan, the largest in Central Asia, it is said that up to 75% of the water went to waste.

Of the 47,750 km of interfarm irrigation channels in the basin, only 28% have antifiltration linings. Only 77% of farm intakes have flow gauges, and of the 268,500 km of onfarm channels, only 21% have antifiltration linings, which retain on average 15% more water than unlined channels.

The Amu Darya had lost so much of its flow that it no longer reached the Aral Sea. Today, it ends around about 110 kilometers away.

Photo: Corbis

Pictured above is the Amu Darya a little ways upstream from where it now ends. Deprived of a major source of its water, the inland sea shrank rapidly. In just a few decades, the Aral Sea has been  significantly reduced in size. It is now a series of smaller water bodies, with a combined volume one-tenth its original and much higher salinity due to all the evaporation.

The future of the Aral Sea, and the responsibility for its survival are now in the hands of the five countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. In 1994, they adopted the Aral Sea Basin Program.

The Program’s four objectives are:
- To stabilise the environment of the Aral Sea Basin
- To rehabilitate the disaster area around the sea
- To improve the management of the international waters of the Aral Sea Basin
- To build the capacity of institutions at the regional and national level to advance the program’s aims

Monday, October 28, 2013

Salt Issues on Farmland in the northern amu darya delta

A salt encrusted field near Kungrad.
Salt coats much of the farmland in the northern  Amu Darya river delta lands. Excessive irrigation combined with existing climatic and geographic factors have caused salt to leach upwards and accumulate above the ground.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beruni Marble

Mining of construction materials: gabbroamphibolites (decorative and facing material) and marble of various colours is conducted in Beruniy Rayon.
There are three main deposits of marble near Beruniy.

The first is in Aktauskoe 40 km to the northwest from Beruniy  - Grey, medium-grained granodiorite. Granodiorite from Beruni is used as ornamental stone.Output of blocks is 34,6%, plates - 13,4 m2/m3. Reserves 2442 thousand m3.

The second is at Kakhralysaiskoe 40 km to the northwest from Beruni - White-grey, pink, honey-yellow marble. Output of blocks is 24,7%,plates – 12 m2/m3 with reserves of 1675 thousand m3.

Photo: Beruniy marble 

And finally Beruniyskoe 47 km to the north-west from the Beruni - Marble and marmorised limestone for ornamental rock crushed stone production. This is a valuable raw material for sculpture and decorative lining and facing. Reserves 2128 thousand m3.
hoto: Uzbek marble  is of high quality and was used in the facades of the Tashkent and Moscow subway system.

Photo: A marble capital from the
 5-4 c.AD (found in the mountains
of Sultanwizdag, Beruny region).


Monday, September 30, 2013

Made in Uzbekistan (Part 2) Introducing Uzbek-American joint venture GM Uzbekistan's new car model Chevrolet Cobalt

GM Uzbekistan (formerly JSC UzDEUavto Asaka) has began production of a new car model the Chevrolet Cobalt. It is equipped with a DOHC gasoline engine, 1.5 litre cylinder capacity and 106 horsepower output, combined with a five-speed manual transmission. It has good fuel economy up to 6.2 litres per 100 km.  Output from the plant is expected to be up to 125 thousand vehicles per year, sales to both Uzbekistan and throughout the CIS.

JSC UzDaewooAuto was established in 1996 on a parity basis by the Government of Uzbekistan and South Korea's Daewoo Motors. In 2005 Uzbekistan Daewoo bought shares in the joint venture.

In 2007 Uzavtoprom and General Motors signed an agreement to establish a basis for the GM Uzbekistan plant with charter capital of $266.7 million. General Motors owns 25 per cent of shares plus one share in the enterprise, with the possibility of increasing it to 40 per cent. Currently, 75 per cent of the shares belong to Uzavtoprom.

The Joint Venture currently produces eight models of cars, four of which are manufactured using  SKD*1 technology (Chevrolet - Captiva, Epica, Spark and Malibu). 

See Video in Russian performance drive of Cobalt near Samakand.

Chevrolet Captiva (since 2008)
Chevrolet Epica (2008 - 2011)
Chevrolet Lacetti (2008 - 2013)
Chevrolet Spark M300 (since 2010, both  export and for local market)
Chevrolet Tacuma (since 2008 - 2009)Chevrolet Cobalt (since 2012)

Note:  *1 - SKD is the abbreviation of the term Semi Knock Down. Where the exporter sells the product by SKD and they are then assembled in the host country. An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product in this case Chevrolet.

Made in Uzbekistan (Cars) - Part 1

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kazakh cuisine in Karakalpakstan

Some 400,000 citizens of Uzbekistan who identify as Kazakhs live in the republic of Karakalpakstan,  Most are descendants of the "Junior juz" (Kişi juz).

For hundreds of years Kazakhs traditionally lived as nomadic herders who raised fat-tailed sheep, camels, and horses, relying on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food. The amount of cooking equipment used was minimal as traditionally it was transported from location to location to follow the grazing herds. The iron “Qazan” was and still is their most indispensable piece of cookware used for cooking pilaf’s, soups, and even bread (it can be turned over to cook flatbread on the back).

Kazakhs traditionally eat at a low table called a “dastarkhan”.  They also maintain a tradition of using beautiful dishware when possible. Traditional beverage Kumis is laden into wide bowls decorated with silver or in painted cups, and meat is served on wide platters. Tea is steeped in ornate teapots and served in decorated cups.

In Kazakh practice the guest is always given a place of honour at the table and a special welcome in the household. On special occasions the  most honoured guest at a meal will receive a cooked head of a ram or a goat which is passed around in ceremonial or ritual practice. 

Main Dishes

Besbarmak, a dish consisting of boiled meat, is the most popular meal in Kazakh homes. It is also called “five fingers” because of the way it is eaten. The chunks of boiled meat are cut and served by the host in order of the guests’ importance. The boiled meat eaten with thin boiled pieces of pasta sheet and a meat broth called shorpa, and is traditionally served in bowls called “kese”. The host of the meal cuts the meat himself (or herself) and by tradition the best cuts are given to the more honoured people.

Another favourite is Manti a spiced mixture of ground lamb (or beef) spiced with black pepper, enclosed in a dough wrapper. Cooked in a multi-level steamer and served topped with butter, sour cream, or onion sauce.

A very popular dish for Kazakhs as with other people living in Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asians is Palaw (Pilaf) which is made from meat fried with carrot and onion or garlic then cooked with rice.

Traditional Sausage is also very popular in Kazakh cuisine. One favourite is Kylmai a sausage made from ground meat, mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. Made during winter and fall slaughtering and is made by stuffing intestines with pieces of ground meat, fat, blood, garlic, salt, and pepper. It will last a long time if it is smoked. Other popular sausages include Koten is a sausage eaten in the spring when a cow has a new calf; it is a giant sausage sometimes served with rice or kurt. Also kazy and shuzhuk made from horsemeat.
Photo: Horse delicacies include zhal (smoked lard from horse's neck) and zhaa (salted and smoked meat from horse's hip / hind leg).

Other specialty dishes include Kuiryk-bauyr  which used to be served to kinsmen at wedding parties- boiled meat, sliced thinly, then sour milk and salted broth are added. Kuyrdak (also spelled kuirdak, a dish made from roasted horse, sheep, or cow offal such as heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs, diced and served with onions and peppers) and Mypalau made by putting sheep's brain in a wooden bowl, adding the marrow and some pieces of meat, add salted fat broth and garlic.


Kazakhs like their Karakalpaks and their Uzbeks cousins love to drink lots of Chai (tea) with their meals or with sweets after the main course.  Chai was first introduced into Central Asia from China along the silk road. Sometimes Kalmak sour cream made from boiled milk (Sut) , and is also served with tea.
Photo: Kumys fermented mare's milk

Traditional beverages include fermented mare (horse)'s milk (Kumys), fermented camel's milk (Chal or Shubat), cow’s milk (Ayran) are sparkling white beverages with a sour flavour and are seen as good for one’s health and are often imbibed.

Ayran (buttermilk) which is sour milk used both in winter and summer is a cold beverage of yogurt mixed with cold water and sometimes salt.

Others include Sary mai is butter made of old milk, often in a leather bag.  Suzbe and Katyk are strained and thickened sour milk and Koryktyk is a herdsman’s food- thickened milk made out on the steppe. Tosap made from the scum on the sides of a metal pot and is used as medicine.

Kurt is a type of cheese eaten throughout Central Asia which is made from dried cheese and whey and rolled into balls, prepared by pressing thick sour cream, and is dried until white and salty and Irimzhik (cottage cheese) dried sour milk product similar to Kurt, but not rolled into balls) is processed in the spring, made from boiled, unskimmed milk and added sour cream.

Source: Wikipedia and other sources. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Girjek or Spike Fiddle of Karakalpakstan

The Girjek or spike fiddle is used by Uyghurs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmens and Karakalpaks.

It is a very distinct instrument with beautful inlayed or leather covered bases it has characteristics similiar to the violin. A round-bodied spike fiddle with 3 or 4 metal strings and a short fretless a spherical resonator with a skin soundtable. Although not visible, the acoustics produced are made possible by this skin inlay soundtable within the base. The bow is made of horsehair.

The instrument is held on the knee while playing. During the 19th century the Ghirjak had two, three, four or seven strings, but by the end of the 20th century only the four-string Ghidjak was in use in Uzbekistan. The sound became stronger and diapason became wider. Other related instruments are the Girjek-alt and Girjek-prima.

In Karakalpakstan the Girjek player is called a Girjeksh. It is played both as a solo instrument and in the orchestra and is also used to accompany singers.

The origins of the girjek are not known, but the instrument is mentioned in 10th-century manuscripts which indicate that almond shells were used to construct the bridge (harak). It was depicted in 15th-century Persian miniature paintings is similar in construction to the 20th-century instrument but had a longer spike.


Music Instruments of Uzbekistan The rich variety of musical instruments within Uzbekistan reflects the great diversity of musical styles performed on them. Small ensembles of mixed instruments are at the heart of the classical maqâm tradition. Characteristic instruments in such ensembles include the long-necked fretted lutes (tanbur, dutar, ud, tar, rubab, sat (setar), spike fiddle (ghijak/girjek) and the Kobooz), also present are instruments such as the side-blown flute (nai and ghadjir nai), struck zither (chang), frame drum (dayra) and a small clarinet like instrument made from reed (qoshnay). Another typical ensemble consists of long trumpets (karnai), loud oboes (surnai) and, membrane percussion instruments – (doira, chindaul and others). The kettledrums (naghora) are also an obligatory presence at festive and ceremonial occasions. In rural regions, epic singers accompany themselves on a short fretless lute (dombra), while amateur musicians play the Jew's harp (chang-kobuz) or a simple variety of the spike fiddle (kiak). Source:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Karakalpak epic heritage CD

This CD is dedicated to the living musical heritage of the Karakalpak bards. It is the fruit of a fieldwork inventory conducted in 2010 by Frederic Leotar under the auspices of UNESCO,* in cooperation with cultural institutions from Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan. This inventory, which was conducted across Karakalpakstan, resulted in the recording of nearly 300 vocal and instrumental works.

The 22 songs on this CD were selected with the help of several well-known musicians, including Qarimbay Tinibaev, the famous baqsi, girdjek player and professor at the College of Arts in Nukus, the capital of Karakalpakstan.

1. Nama basi, G’. O’temuratov, duwtar, trad.
2. Asirim, B. Sirimbetov, voice and qobiz, trad.
3. Ga’lga’lay, O. O’tambetov, voice and duwtar (N. Nuratdinov, girdjek), trad.
4. Saltiq, G. Xamitova, voice and duwtar (I. Sabourova, girdjek), trad.
5. Begler, B. O’tepbergenov, voice and duwtar, trad.
6. Ulli ziban, J. Piyazov, voice and qobiz, trad.
7. Qoshim palwan, B. Asqarova, voice and duwtar (I. Sabourova, girdjek), trad.
8. Ken’esli ton, M. Aekeev, voice and duwtar, trad.
9. Kelte nalish, Z. Ibragimova, voice and duwtar, trad.
10. Idiris, N. Nuratdinov, voice and duwtar (G. Sultamuratov, girdjek), trad.
11. Qa’wender, M. Jumatova, voice and duwtar, trad.
12. Tolg’aw, B. Esemuratov, voice and qobiz, trad.
13. Neshe gu’ller, G. Ra’metova, voice and duwtar
14. Besperde, T. Qalliev, voice and duwtar (S. Qayipnazarov, girdjek, A. Atarbaev, balaman), trad.
15. Sa’rbinaz, G. Allambergenova, voice and duwtar (I. Sabourova, girdjek), trad.
16. Adin’nan, A. Seyilxanov, voice and duwtar, trad.
17. Sanali keldi, Z. Sheripova, voice and duwtar, trad.
18. Qu’nxoja, T. Qalliev, voice and duwtar, trad.
19. Muwsa sen yari, N. Nuratdinov, voice and duwtar (G. Sultamuratov, girdjek), trad.
20. Qa’nigu’l, G. Allambergenova, voice and duwtar (I. Sabourova, girdjek), trad.
21. Nalish, M. Jumatova, voice and duwtar, trad.
22. Aq ishik, G’. O’temuratov, duwtar, trad.

Source: See UNESCO site for more information

See promo video - Karakalpak Epic Heritage (1CD -2012)

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Uzbekistan Tourist Destination

Every year the number of tourists visiting Uzbekistan increases. Interest in its unique culture and heritage, in particular its historical and architectural monuments which are by far the most striking in Central Asia, grows steadily.

Uzbekistan situated on the cross roads of the Silk Road boasts more than 4,000 historical and architectural monuments. Besides a plethora of archaeological sites it also offers incredibly beautiful mosques, mausoleums, palaces, forts, ruined temples and monasteries and shrines; an invaluable spiritual heritage of its long and great history that is preserved with care. The main tourist centers of Uzbekistan ― Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, and Shakhrisabz are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List ― attract millions of foreign tourists annually.

Whilst tourism in Uzbekistan has been primarily centered on its rich cultural heritage. The country is also blessed with many varied and contrasting landscapes; natural beauties such as  mountains, valleys, desserts, forests and rivers.  There are also many adventure activities available for visitors including trekking, mountain climbing, water sports, river rafting,hot springs, safaris, bird watching, fishing, horse back riding and skiing. In addition Uzbekistan is famous for its rich traditions of hospitality, which are so deeply rooted within its people. This coupled with an amazingly varied and tasty cuisine all make it a very attractive and interesting tourism destination for travelers from all over the world.

Useful links:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

National Company "Uzbektourism"

Karakalpakstan Tourism

Karakalpakstan at 165,700 km2 is the largest region of Uzbekistan, accounting for over a third of its entire land area (447,400 km2). In the northwest, it includes a large part of the Ustyurt plateau that lays between the Caspian Sea and the erstwhile Aral Sea; to the east is the Kyzyl-Kum desert, which reaches further into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

The fertile part of the region is the Amu Darya river delta - formerly ancient Khorezm, which is today shared by three distinct entities: the Uzbek oblast of Khorezm, whose capital is Urgench; the Turkmen oblast of Dachaouz; and the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, whose capital is Nukus.

Karakalpakstan has a long and rich history with diverse cultural offerings ranging from, at one extreme, the ruins of Khorezm’s ancient (5th century BC) civilization to, at the other, the Nukus Museum, which houses the Savitsky Collection comprising the world’s second largest collection of 20th century Russian avant garde art as well as the largest folk art collection in Central Asia.

The Republic is also the site of a major environmental catastrophe: the disappearing Aral Sea, formerly one of the world’s fourth largest inland lake and now reduced to only a small portion of its original size. Visting the former coastal town Muynak is  a very moving experience.

Karakalpakstan’s climate is extreme continental, i.e. very cold in winter and very hot in summer, so the best time to visit is either in the spring or early summer (April through June) or in the fall/Autum (September through mid-November), when temperatures range between 15-25C.

Karakalpakstan is not a conventional tourist destination, nor for the faint-hearted. But, as increasing numbers of International travelers prove, it offers many unique artistic, cultural, historical, and environmental attractions and perspectives.

LINKS For more information about tourism in Karakalpakstan see the following sites:

Friday, May 24, 2013

The beginning of construction of the second stage of the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan named after I.V. Savitsky.

The beginning of construction of the second stage of the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan named after I.V. Savitsky is underway and is expected to take 4 years.  The second stage of the Savitsky Art Museum will include additional exhibition and storage space to house the large collection of items held by the museum.

Construction of the facility started on the 10 march 2013 and is being undertaken by ."Uy-Zhay Kurylys." on behalf of the  Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

Founded in 1966, the Savitsky Collection is located in Nukus, Uzbekistan and holds over 90,000 items of art (paintings, graphics, sculptures, folk and applied art and archaeology). Considered to be the second largest Russian Avant-Garde art collection after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

Igor Savitsky, a Russian born in Ukraine, moved to Central Asia in the 1940s to work as an artist on the Khorezm archaeological expedition. He stayed, collecting Folk and Applied Art of Karakalpakstan, and moved into other areas of collecting, notably Russian and Uzbek Avant-Garde of the 1920s.

The Savitsky Collection has one of most impressive and moving stories of any museum in the world to find out more go to

Friday, March 29, 2013

Karakalpakstan to boost silk production

The Uzbek Cotton Industry Association (Uzpakhtasanoat) is currently initiating a project to further develop the sericulture industry in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The cost of the project is estimated at 7.744 billion soums (approx 4 million USD).

 All five existing processing plants are to participate in the project which aims to construct additional production facilities and increase the on farm production of silk cocoons by developing an additional 60 hectares of mulberry plantations.

Source: See more at:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kungrad Soda Plant expanding its capacity to 1.5 K tonnes per year

During 2013-2014, the State Joint Stock Company Uzkhimprom and China's Citic Pacific Ltd. is undertaking a project to increase the current capacity of the Kungrad Soda Plant in northern Karakalpakstan to 150,000 tons of soda ash per year.

The two companies signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2012, which envisages increasing the plants capacity by 1.5 times - up to 150 KTa of soda ash by 2015. Specialists from Citic Pacific and from the design institute "Uzkhimesanoatloyiha" a division of Uzkhimprom feasibility estimate that the cost of the expansion will be in the order of USD 50 million. The project financing is via a loan from China Exim Bank and the Uzbek companies funds.

Note: The first stage of the expansion which doubled production to 100 KTa of soda ash was commissioned in August 2006 at a total project cost of USD 100 million.

Source: and


List of higher education institutions in Karakalpakstan : 
  • Karakalpakstan State University
  • Nukus State Pedagogical Institute
  • Nukus branch of the Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute
  • Nukus branch of the Tashkent State Agrarian University
  • Nukus branch of the Tashkent University of Information Technologies
  • Nukus branch of the Uzbek State Institute of Art

Karakalpak State University

In September 1935,was opened the first institution of higher education in Karakalpakstan– the Teachers’ institute. In 1944 it was converted to Karakalpak State Pedagogical Institute, on the base of which in September 1976 was formed the Nukus State University (now called the Berdakh Karakalpak State University).Today, the University trains specialists in 40 undergraduate and 22 postgraduate fields.

It provides specialists for oil and gas, light industry, electrical power engineering, architecture and agriculture. The Karakapakstan State University played considerable role in the development of higher education system of the Republic. It has assisted in the formation and development in the region of almost all branches of the Tashkent universities. Those include the Nukus affiliates of the Medical Paediatric Institute, University of Information Technologies, State Institute for Arts and Culture of Uzbekistan, and  Kungrad branch of the Chemical-Technological Institute.
Rector: Professor, Doctor of Biological Sciences Matchanov Azat Taubaldievich 
Address: Nukus, 230112, Ch. Abdirov str., house 1
Phone: 8 (361) 223-60-47, 223-59-68
Fax: 8 (361) 223-60-78
Internet Address

Nukus State Pedagogical Institute

Nukus State Pedagogical Institute is the oldest institution of higher education in the north of Uzbekistan, which was formed in the old capital –Turtkul in 1934. In 1976, on the basis of the Karakalpak State Pedagogical Institute was founded Nukus State University. In 1991 the Nukus State Pedagogical Institute was re-established, as a result developed in Uzbekistan, a new approach to teacher training and improving the quality of teacher education. In 1992 the institute was named Ajiniyaz, after the outstanding thinker and best loved poet of the Karakalpak people.  There are 9 faculties of the Institute which are involved in training of the highly qualified teaching personnel in 19 undergraduate fields and 13 postgraduate fields.

Rector: Associate Professor, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Berdimuratov, Murat Karlibaevich
Address: Nukus, 230105, A. Dosnazarov str., house 104
Phone: 8 (361) 222-65-03
Fax: 8 (361) 222-65-46
Internet Address:

Nukus branch of Tashkent Paediatric Medical Institute

The Nukus branch of Tashkent Paediatric Medical Institute was established by a decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan on October 1, 1991.
Director: Professor Ataniyazova, Oral Aminovna
Address: Nukus, 230113, Kurbanov str., house 223
Phone: 8 (361) 223-66-00 or 222-84-32
Fax: 8 (361) 223-63-85
Internet Address:
E-mail: fntpmi_info@edu and nukusmed@.mail,ru

Nukus branch of Tashkent University of Information Technologies

The Nukus branch of Tashkent University of Information Technologies was founded as a regional branch of the Tashkent University of Information Technologies on July 23, 2005 (by Presidential decree of 30 May 2002 and the Order of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialised Education of Uzbekistan No. 130 on June 17, 2005).

Director: Kayipbergenov Batirbek Tolepbergenovich
Address: Nukus, 230100, Dosnazarov str., house 74
Phone: 8 (361) 222-49-10 or 222-46-12
Fax: 8 (361) 222-46-12, 222-14-53
Internet Address:

Nukus branch of Tashkent State Agrarian University

The Nukus branch of Tashkent State Agrarian University was established on the base of the former Faculties relating to Agricultural Science of the Nukus State University was established by Presidential decree No. UP-356 “About creation of new higher education institutions of the republic” on February 28, 1992.

Director: Turganbaev, Rozimbay Orazbaevich
Address: Avdanberdi str., Nukus 742009
Phone: 8 (361) 229 25 09
Internet Address:

Nukus branch of the Uzbek State Institute of Art

The Nukus branch of the Uzbek State Institute of Art was established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (No. PP-845 of 28 April 2008) “On measures to establish the Nukus branch of the National Institute of Arts of Uzbekistan” in order to further develop a kind of art and culture Karakalpak people, nurturing talented young people at high samples national and world art, comprehensive support and display her creative talents, the aspirations, improve the training of highly professional actors for the modern theatre and cinema, television and radio, experts on art history.
Director: Paluaniyazov, Paxratdin Kudaybergenovich
Address: Nukus, Khurliman kiz bakhshi str., house 37
Phone: 8 (361) 224-14-10 or 601-16-03
Internet Address: