Many Tajiks consider themselves Uzbek, though they retain the Tajik language; this may be because they have long shared an urban lifestyle, which was more of a bond than ethnic labels. Many Qipchaqs eschew intermarriage, live a nomadic lifestyle, and identify more closely with the Kyrgyz who live across the border from them.
The Khojas also avoid intermarriage, and despite speaking several languages, have retained a sense of unity.
Today many people still speak Russian, but the government is heavily promoting Uzbek. Symbols of Uzbekistan's independence and past glories are most common.
Here, where the country is squeezed between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the mountainous terrain supports a continuing nomadic lifestyle, and in recent years has provided a venue for fundamentalist guerrillas.With 2.1 million people, it is the largest city in Central Asia. The current population of Uzbekistan is 24.8 million.Seventy-five to 80 percent are Uzbek, though many of these were originally from other ethnic groups.The architectures of Samara and Bukhara also symbolize past achievements.Amir Timur, who conquered a vast area of Asia from his seat in Samarkand in the fourteenth century, has become a major symbol of Uzbek pride and potential and of the firm but just and wise ruler—a useful image for the present government, which made 1996 the Year of Amir Timur.