Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia, surrounded by five landlocked countries (Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Afghanistan; and Turkmenistan). For the past 200 years, the country was a part of the Russian Empire, and then of the Soviet Union, before emerging as an independent state when Soviet rule ended in 1991.
Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to its history and strategic location at the heart of the ancient Silk Road trade route connecting China with the Middle East and Rome. Its constitutional official language is Uzbek, but Russian has widespread use as a language of governance. Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians at 5.4%). Muslims are a majority of the population who also identify as non-denominational Muslims.