It stretches 1,425 kilometres from west to east and 930 kilometres from north to south.

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.

The brutal conquest and widespread genocide characteristic of the Mongols almost entirely exterminated the indigenous Indo-Iranian (Scythian) people of the region.

Their culture and heritage being superseded by that of the Mongolian-Turkic peoples who settled the region thereafter.

The country also has a short border with Afghanistan to the south.

This Central Asian country is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, i.e., a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries (the other one is Liechtenstein).

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.

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.

By 2004, the sea had shrunk to 25% of its original surface area and on top of that the increase in salinity had killed most of its natural flora and fauna.