ABSTRACT

The new Soviet organisation has split this old province into five independent republics—Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikstan and Kirghizia and Kazakhstan, corresponding to the widely different peoples in each. All are strict Moslems, until quite recently keeping their women veiled and in separate rooms. The Uzbeks are a settled people, skilful in irrigation. The old Tsars used to boast that Samarkand was the brightest jewel in their crown; but the importance of Samarkand has dwindled, and Tashkent has taken its place. Uzbekistan is cotton country. It is the largest cotton producer in the Union. But in the valleys there is much rice and fruit canning; and in the desert the valuable caracul sheep are pastured, so there are mills for wool as well as cotton and silk in the towns. The chief theatre of Tashkent is named after Khamza, a seventeenth-century Uzbek poet. Uzbek dramatists sprang up, writing Soviet plays about Uzbek problems and great deeds of the Civil Wars in Turkestan.