Culture

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Culture

As a guest in Uzbekistan, you will be accorded much respect and shown great hospitality, for local families gladly seize the chance to welcome new friends from abroad. In return, you should abide by the local codes of conduct:


  • remove shoes before entering a mosque or home or sitting on a chaikhana bed
  • bare the minimum of skin, particularly when visiting a holy site
  • respect the right of mosque or madrasah personnel to deny entry to women or non-Muslims
  • attempt no photography during prayer time
  • while Russian language remains to be more useful, learning some important phrases is an easy and greatly appreciated way to make friends
  • at the very least, offer the traditional greeting - Assalamu aleykum (may peace be upon you).


An invitation to eat provides a welcome opportunity for a more genuine Uzbek repast, but be aware that in these hard times your host may be forced to make sacrifices for their hospitality. Gifts from abroad, postcards, coins and especially photos from home may mean little to you but will be well appreciated as tokens of friendship. Always accept when you are invited to wash your hands from water poured from a pot.


Elderly people enjoy revered status in Uzbekistan. The old men who dominate the neighborhood councils, makhalla, are respectfully known as aksakal (white beards). Make room for them and remember this is a firm handshake culture. Perform it with your left hand over your heart. Likewise, when passing anything, use only your right hand. Foreign women can be honorary men in Uzbek households, but also have a unique opportunity to talk to women away from the pressures of a male-dominated society.


Cultural Centers

There are a number of foreign cultural and education centers in Tashkent. Long term residents or specialists may wish to contact the following organizations.


Organization Phone Address Web site
1 British Council
120-6752
120-6371
11, Konaev street, Tashkent http://www.britishcouncil.org/uzbekistan
2 Westminster International University in Tashkent
236-3599
232-2774
12, Akhunbabaev street, Tashkent http://www.wiut.uz
3 Goethe Institut
234-2390
234-1966
42, Amir Timur street, Tashkent http://www.goethe.de/taschkent
4 Institut Francais D'Etudes Sur L'Asie Centrale (IFEAC)
139-4703
120-6656
18A, Rakatboshi street, Tashkent  http://www.ifeac.org
5 Medecins Sans Frontieres
152-4032
120-7072
4, Konstitutsiya street, Tashkent