Uzbekistan Travel

Uzbekistan - The Republic of Karakalpakstan

Area: 166,6 thousand sq. km
Population: 1530,2 thousand
Capital: Nukus, (1255 km from Tashkent, I population 203,7 thousand)

The Republic of Karakalpakstan is a sovereign state within the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is located in the northwest of the country on the Amu Darya flatlands and southern shores of the Aral Sea. The Republic consists of 15 districts: Amu Darya, Beruny, Bozalau, Kanlikul, Korauzak, Kegeyli, Kungrad, Muynak, Nukus, Takhtakupir, Turtkul, Hojeily, Chimbay, Sbumanay, Ellikkalfa; 12 towns: Beruny, Buslon, Kungrad, Mangit, Muynak, Nukus, Takhiatosh, Turtkul, Khalkobod, Hojeily, Cbimboy, Shumanay; 16 town-villages, and 120 villages.

Agriculture: cotton, rice, melons, watermelons, vegetables, karakul sheep, and cattle.
Industry: metalworking, electricity and energy production, textile and food industry.

State system: According to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan protects the sovereignty of the Republic of Karakalpakstan:

•  The Republic of Karakalpakstan has its own Constitution, which does not contradict with that of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

•  The laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan are mandatory on the
territory of the Republic of Karakalpakstan;

•  The territory and borders of the Republic of Karakalpakstan cannot be changed without its consent;

•  All issues on its administrative and territorial division are decided by the Republic independently;

•  On the basis of a general referendum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, it has the right to declare its independence from the Republic of Uzbekistan.

•  The bilateral relations between the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan are regulated with agreements and pacts concluded within the framework of Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The Constitution of the Republic of Karakalpakstan was adopted on April 9,1993. The Republic of Karakalpakstan has its state emblem, flag, and anthem.

Branches of state power: The state system of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is based upon the constitutional division of powers between legislative, executive and judiciary branches.

The Jukorgy Kenges (parliament) of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is the legislative body of the state, which consists of deputies, elected from territorial districts of the Republic, on a multiparty basis for a five- i year term. The Chairman of the Jukorgy Kenges of the Republic of Karakalpakstan becomes a deputy of the Oliy Majlis (parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan and is elected to the post of Deputy Chairman of Oliy Majlis. The Jukorgy Kenges of the Republic of Karakalpakstan has the right to nominate a candidate from each electoral district on its territory as deputy to the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan. Also, it has the right to legislative initiative during sessions.

The Council of Ministers, approved by the Jukorgy Kenges of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, is the highest executive body in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan consists of a Chairman, Deputies of the Chairman, Ministers, Heads of State Committees, as well as the heads of major state companies and associations. Due to position that he/she holds, the Chairman of Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is included to the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. There is a permanent representation of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan to the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

The judiciary in the Republic of Karakalpakstan is independent from legislative and executive branches of power as well as political parties, and other public associations. It consists of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Economic Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. Judges are elected for a five-year term. The judges of the Nukus City Court and District Military and Economic Courts are appointed for the same period. The chairman of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is a member of Constitutional Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well.

Geographically, the territory of the Republic of Karakalpakstan consists of the northwestern part of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, the southeastern part of the Usturt Plato and the Amu Darya River delta, as well as the southern part of the Aral Sea. The Sulton-Uvays Mountain Range is the largest among other mountain ranges. On the foothills of the Sulton-Uvays is the Baday-Tugay Park. The Amu Darya (the lower streams) is the only river that flows through the given area. Its wide delta is very rich in reeds. There are many streams, lakes and swamplands in the river delta with major agricultural areas and irrigation canals located on its right shore. There are a variety of natural resources such as gas, iron, phosphorus, bentonite and kaolin clay, salt, marble, and granite. Climate is typically continental with dry and hot summers and relatively cold winters, without snow. The general rainfall is in winter and spring.

The first settlements on the territoiy of Karakalpakstan appeared between the late 4th and early 2nd century B.C. During excavation at the Koy-Kirilgankala religious site, ancient written memorials, dating back the 4th century B.C., were found. The most famous memorials are the palace of Tuprokkala that belongs to the late antique period and Guyarkala, as well as many others.

There are many relics referring to irrigation and house construction belonging to the period of the early settlement of Kara- Kalpaks in the Jana Darya River Basin. Kara-kalpaks are one of the Central Asian races with strong Mongoloid features. They speak Kara Kalpak, a language belonging to the Kipchak subgroup of the Altai family of the Turkic group of languages. They are Sunni Muslims. Ethnically they are connected to the tribes that once inhabited the desert areas of the Syr Darya and the outskirts of the Aral Sea. During the 16th and mid-18th centuries, the majority of Kara-Kalpaks lived on the mid and lower streams of the Syr Darya River. With their semi-nomadic lifestyle, they irrigated the land, farmed, kept livestock, and fished, while during the second half of the 18th century most Kara-Kalpaks resettled in the Syr Darya delta, flowing west - Jana Darya. The traditional occupation of the Kara-Kalpaks, livestock farming, is in harmony with agriculture and fishing. In the 19th century, the resettlement of Kara-Kalpaks to the Amu Darya Delta was completed.

In the second half of the 19th century, the territory on the right bank of the Amu Darya was annexed by Russia and on these new territories, the Amu Darya Department of the Syr Darya Region was established. This was part of the Turkestan General Governance (1878). In 1920 the Amu Darya Department was restructured into the Amu Darya Region of the Turkestan Autonomous SSR. The Kara- Kalpak Autonomous oblast (province) was established in 1924 and became part of the Kazakhstan SSR. Later, in 1930, the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous oblast joined the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republics. In 1932 the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous oblast was restructured into the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Republic and was finally incorporated into Uzbekistan in 1936.

In the past, Kara-Kalpaks lived in small villages, inhabitants of which were relatives belonging to the same kin. These settlements were located along the irrigation canals. Traditional housing was the yurta and along with it there was another kind of shelter made from a frame filled with reeds. The walls and roof were patched with clay.

In recent years, the types of settlements have changed. Contemporary Kara-Kalpak villages now have houses with big windows, wooden floors, electricity, water, natural gas and sewerage. Yurtas can only be found in villages where they are used as summer housing. Houses are decorated in modern city style along with traditional utensils. Carpets, bright blankets, ceramic and porcelain dishes with painted mosaics create an atmosphere of beauty in modern Kara-Kalpak houses.

The traditional food of the Kara-Kalpaks is fruit and vegetables, meat and fish. Of course, traditional Kara-Kalpak cuisine is enriched with dishes of other nations, but even these new meals are adapted to suit traditional tastes. Only the elderly preserves traditional dress. Ancient Kara-Kalpak dresses arc very colorful, especially women's headgear and head covers. Contemporary style is, for the most part, a European with stylish forms of traditional dress preserved in styles of women's traditional short skirts.

The history of the unique handicrafts of the Kara-Kalpak people goes back centuries. From ancient times, the art of wood engraving, leather processing, weaving and embroidery arc highly developed. The decorations of Kara-Kalpak yurtas include carpets, stair-carpets, rugs, loom-work of soft brown, purple, soft green, and yellow colors. The traditions of the Kara-Kalpak applied art have been preserved until today.

The history of the Kara-Kalpak nation is rich and ancient. Its national culture, unique an, classic literature, customs and traditions are well known beyond its borders. Popular legends such as "Alpomysh", "Kyrk kyz", "Kobian" are the literary reflection of the rich history of the Kara-Kalpak nation. Through the centuries, classical poets such as J ien Jirau, Ajiniyaz, Berdakh, Otesh, A. Musaev, K. Avezov, J. Aymurzaev produced poetry, and other writings. The works of Ubragim Yusupov, Tulepbergen Kayipbergenov, and Tilovbergen Jumamuratov are well known outside the Republic, as well. Famous scientists such as Sobir Kamolov, Marat Nurmuhammedov, and Charjoy Abdirov have made significant contributions to the development of science in Uzbekistan.

Modern Karakalpakstan is a republic with a developed economy. The main branches of economy are connected with reprocessing of agricultural products. The cotton reprocessing is the leading branch of industry. The oil refinement and cottonseed reprocessing are two closely related industries. The largest industries of the Republic: are the Takhiatash Hydro Electricity Station, Kungrad Soda Manufacturing Plant, as well as joint ventures "Cateks" and "Elteks". Also, there are a number of small business enterprises that have been established.

The south of the Republic specializes in cotton and silk production. The water shortage is a problem and the soil is very saline. Summers are unbearably hot and winters are icy cold. Therefore, agriculture requires much work and effort. Karakalpakstan is especially good for rice cultivation. It is one of the important places in providing rice to Uzbekistan.

The Kyzyl Kum is the best place for karakul sheep and camel farming while the northern part of the Republic is good for rice and livestock farming. Fishing, livestock and horse farming is developed in the area close to shoreline of the Aral Sea. The Republic has broad network of highways and railroads; the transportation is well developed. There are number of gas pipelines crossing its territory.

The city of Nukus, the capital as well as administrative and cultural center of Karakalpakstan, is located in the contemporary southern delta of the Amu Darya River, right in the middle of the desert. The city is located in the geographical center of the Republic and has a very convenient transportation network. The large Kizketgen Canal flows through Nukus, and there is a road network connecting the capital with all the districts of the Republic. Nukus is a modern city with many beautiful buildings, most of which are patched with marble, a product of the local marble plant. Large industrial enterprises and cultural institutions are concentrated in the city. There is a wide healthcare network in Nukus, as well as a university, pedagogical institute and representative office of Uzbek Academy of Sciences. The broadcasting center in Nukus airs programs of national broadcasting stations. The Art Academy, Union of Composers, Union of Writers, Union of Architects, and a movie studio also operate in the city.

One of the most developed cities of Karakalpakstan is Hojeyli. It is the major center for the transportation network and the capital of the textile and food industry.

The southernmost town of Karakalpakstan is the city of Turtkul. It was the capital of the republic until 1932, but because of its inconvenient geographical location and constant exposure to the threats of floods, the capital was moved to a more convenient location. There are different institutions in town that are of local importance, as well as clubs, libraries, and movie theaters.