Uzbekistan is located in the heart of Central Asia and borders Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The country is about the same size as Sweden or California with more than two-thirds of it desert and steppe in the west. The richest farmland (and therefore the bulk of the population) is nestled in the gaps in the mountains, on the alluvial planes at their base, and along the country’s two big rivers – Amu-Darya and Syr Darya.Uzbekistan contains some of the world’s oldest, most historic cities including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. The only relief is the delta where the Amu-Darya River empties into what remains of the Aral Sea. In the east, however, Uzbekistan tilts upward towards the mountains of its neighbors. This is where the country’s life-giving rivers rise. Uzbekistan is divided into twelve provinces (Andijan, Bukhara, Djizzak, Fergana, Kashkadarya, Khorezm, Namangan, Navoi, Samarkand, Surkhandarya, Syrdarya, Tashkent), one autonomous republic (Republic of Karakalpakistan), and one independent city (Capital city Tashkent).