Uzbek, Northern in Kyrgyzstan







Largest Religion

Main Language


Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center

Introduction / History

The Uzbek are a mixture of Turkic tribes that have many Mongolian and Iranian traits. The term Uzbek, meaning "master of himself," accurately describes the people. Their love of freedom and sense of restlessness have often caused conflicts with the conquerors who have invaded their homeland, the west central Asian region known as Turkestan, throughout the centuries.

Conflicts in Turkestan began with the invasion of Alexander the Great in the fourth century, followed by the Arabs and Turks in the seventh and eighth centuries, and the Mongols, under Genghis Khan, in the thirteenth century. Tamerlane's conquest in the 1300's brought the last, and perhaps finest, period of culture and learning to the Uzbek.

Turkestan entered a long period of decline in the 1500's. By the time the Russians invaded the area between 1860 and the mid-1880's, Turkestan had broken into several warring principalities. It was then that many Uzbek dispersed throughout Central Asia.

What are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Uzbek live in the rural Osh region of Kyrgyzistan, which is the eastern part of the Ferghana Valley. Traditionally, they were farmers and nomadic shepherds. Shepherds generally live close to their flocks of sheep and herds of horses, cattle, camels, and goats. City dwellers are mostly merchants and craftsmen. Many are skillful bazaar artisans (silver and goldsmiths, leather workers, woodcarvers, and rug makers). Women do much of the household work and handle many of the less skilled and manual jobs. They are often segregated from the men.

The Uzbek live in several distinctive types of houses. The usual house is built of mud bricks and often has a domed roof. Another type is an oblong, rectangular hut with rooms leading off a long, covered porch and located inside a walled compound. The central Asian yurt (circular, portable tent) is also common. This is used mostly by groups who migrate seasonally with their herds. The Uzbek live in extended families, with the father being the all-powerful head. Each village is ruled by an elder. Several villages comprise an elat, which is governed by a council of male elders. Marriages between members of allied tribes are still preferred.

Most Uzbek, especially those in urban areas, have adopted European style clothing; some, however, still wear traditional dress. For recreation, they hunt with tazi (Afghan hounds) for desert gazelle, rabbits, and small animals.

During the time under Soviet rule, the Uzbek faced intense pressure to "become Russian." Despite the forced collective farming and anti-religious campaigns, large numbers of the Uzbek retain the many elements of the classic Central Asian culture.

Uzbeki is a vital language for all of the former soviet Central Asian republics. It is the language most understood and spoken by the greatest number of people. Uzbeki was transcribed into Arabic script in 1923, into Latin script in 1927, and replaced by Cyrillic in 1940.

What are Their Beliefs?

The majority of the Uzbek are Sunni Muslims. There are also a few Shi'ite Muslims and various Sufi orders. The role of the numerous holy places of pilgrimage in Kyrgyzstan is less significant than in other regions in Central Asia where the tribal structures are still strong.

Pre-Islamic shamanism (belief that there is an unseen world of many gods, demons, and ancestral sprits) survives in an Islamic form. Today the shaman (priest or medicine man) is a practicing Muslim who combines shamanistic trances with reciting Islamic prayers, fasts, and other Islamic practices.

What are Their Needs?

Ministry among Muslims is a difficult task. Kyrgyzstan desperately needs prayer and additional workers.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of Uzbek Muslims towards Christians.
* Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies that are focusing on the Uzbek.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Uzbek.
* Ask the Lord to call additional people who are willing to share the Gospel in Kyrgyzstan.
* Ask the Lord to raise up missionaries who can effectively minister the Gospel to the Muslims and other Uzbek.
* Pray for God to raise up strong local churches among the Uzbek.

Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Submit a new profile or correction

Submit an update
Country Kyrgyzstan
Continent Asia
Region Central Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country
Submit an update
People Name General Uzbek, Northern
People Name in Country Uzbek, Northern
ROP3 Code 107469
Joshua Project People ID 14039
Indigenous Yes
Population in Kyrgyzstan 778,000
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Northern Uzbek, Ouzbek, Ozbek, Usbaki, Uzbek, Uzbeki, Wuzibieke,
Submit an update
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Uzbek, Northern 778,397
Submit an update
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Uzbek
People Name General Uzbek, Northern
Ethnic Code MSY41l
Submit an update
Largest Religion Islam
0.25%    ( Evangelical  0.20% )
Ethnic Religions
Other / Small
Christian Segments
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source: Caleb Project Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project. A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.