Uzbekistan is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups and cultures, with Uzbeks being the majority. In 1995, about 71% of Uzbekistan’s population was Uzbek. Russians (8%), Tajiks (5–30%), Kazakhs (4%), Tatars (2.5%), and Karakalpaks (2.5%) were the most numerous minority groups (2 percent ). However, the number of non-Uzbeks residing in Uzbekistan is reported to be reducing as Russians and other minority groups depart and Uzbeks return from other areas of the former Soviet Union.
When Uzbekistan achieved independence in 1991, there were fears that Islamic extremism would spread across the region. The assumption was that a nation that has long denied religious freedom would see a dramatic rise in the expression of its dominant religion. In 1994, more than half of Uzbekistan’s population was claimed to be Muslim, but according to an official study, only a small percentage of that number had any genuine understanding of the religion or understood how to perform it. However, there is an increase in Islamic adherence in the area.
Shashmaqam, or Central Asian classical music, originated in Bukhara in the late 16th century, when the city was a regional center. Shashmaqam is linked to Azerbaijani muqam and Uyghur muqam. The name, which translates as “six maqams,” alludes to the music’s structure, which includes six parts in six distinct musical modes, akin to classical Persian traditional music. Interludes of spoken Sufi poetry break the music, usually starting in a lower range and gradually rising to a climax before returning to the initial tone.
The endurance of listening and the consistent crowds that attend events such as bazms or weddings are what make folk-pop music so popular. In Uzbekistan, classical music is quite distinct from pop music. During a morning or evening meeting of guys, most men listen to solo or duet performances. The primary component of classical music is shash maqam. The strong backing of musicians from upper-class households meant that the Shash maqam was to be prioritized above everything else. Some of the music is inspired by poetry. In certain cases, the two languages are even blended together in the same song. Folk music became less popular in the 1950s, and it was banned from radio stations. They did not entirely eradicate the music, but the term was changed to feudal music. Despite the prohibition, folk musical ensembles continued to perform and disseminate their music in their own unique ways. Many people claim it was the most liberating musical experience they’d ever had.
Uzbek cuisine, like that of most other countries, is inspired by local agriculture. Uzbekistan has a lot of grain cultivation, thus breads and noodles are important, and Uzbek cuisine has been described as “noodle-rich.” Mutton is a popular kind of meat in Uzbekistan owing to the quantity of sheep in the nation, and it is used in a range of Uzbek recipes.
Palov (plov or osh), a main course usually prepared with rice, chunks of meat, and shredded carrots and onions, is Uzbekistan’s trademark meal. Oshi nahor, or morning plov, is given to large groups of guests in the early morning (between 6 and 9 a.m.), usually as part of a continuing wedding celebration. Shurpa (shurva or shorva), a soup made of large pieces of fatty meat (usually mutton) and fresh vegetables; norin and langman, noodle-based dishes that can be served as a soup or a main course; manti, chuchvara, and somsa, stuffed pockets of dough served as an appetizer or a main course; dimlama, a meat and vegetable stew; and various kebabs, usually served as
Green tea is the national hot beverage used throughout the day, and teahouses (chaikhanas) are culturally significant. In Tashkent, black tea is favored, although both green and black tea are consumed on a regular basis, without milk or sugar. Tea is always served with a meal, but it is also a drink of hospitality that is always given to every guest: green or black. Ayran, a chilled yogurt drink, is popular in the summer, although it is not a substitute for hot tea.
Although alcohol consumption is lower than in the West, wine is rather popular for a Muslim country due to Uzbekistan’s secularism. The oldest and most renowned winery in Uzbekistan is the Khovrenko Winery near Samarkand (established in 1927). The Samarkand Winery makes dessert wines from local grape types like as Gulyakandoz, Shirin, Aleatiko, and Kabernet likernoe (literally Cabernet dessert wine in Russian). Uzbek wines have gained worldwide recognition and are sold to Russia and other nations.