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The city of Shahrisabz was the birthplace of Timur, who in 14th century established the Timurid Empire and was proclaimed the Supreme Emir of Turan.
The area was conquered by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century, moving the centre of power from Samarkand to Bukhara.
The relations with neighboring countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan drastically improved.
Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution.
Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the predominantly Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana, with cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva growing rich from the Silk Road.
In September 2017, the country's currency became fully convertible in the market rates.
Uzbekistan is a major producer and exporter of cotton.
Uzbekistan also shares a short border (less than 150 km or 93 mi) with Afghanistan to the south. It is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (that is, a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries), the other being Liechtenstein.
Russian has widespread use; it is the most widely taught second language.
Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians (5.4%), Tajiks (4.0%), Kazakhs (3.0%), and others (6.5%).
In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, none of its rivers lead to the sea.
Less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The highest point in Uzbekistan is the Khazret Sultan, at 4,643 metres (15,233 ft) above sea level, in the southern part of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, on the border with Tajikistan, just northwest of Dushanbe (formerly called Peak of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party).
The country also operates the largest open-pit gold mine in the world.