<p>Photo: Khiva, Uzbekistan</p>

A family strolls past a madrassa, or Islamic religious school, in the city of Khiva.

Photograph by Jane Sweeney/Getty Images

Roughly the size of New Jersey and California combined (about 173,000 square miles or 448,000 square kilometers), itís one of the larger states in Central Asia and the only one sharing borders with the four others: Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Tajikistan to the southeast, Turkmenistan to the southwest, and Kazakhstan to the north. • Geographers say it's "doubly landlocked," that is, surrounded by other landlocked countries. • The only other doubly landlocked country is Liechtenstein. • Independent since 1991, it has recently seen robust economic growth with low unemployment.

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