Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, as well as the most populous city in ex-Soviet Central Asia, with a population in 2018 of 2,485,900. It is in northeastern Uzbekistan, near the border with Kazakhstan.
Before Islamic influence started in the mid 8th century AD, Tashkent was influenced by the Sogdian and Turkic cultures. After Genghis Khan destroyed it in 1219, it was rebuilt and profited from the Silk Road. From the 18th to the 19th century, the city became an independent city-state, before being re-conquered by the Khanate of Kokand. In 1865, Tashkent fell to the Russian Empire, and became the capital of Russian Turkestan. In Soviet times, it witnessed major growth and demographic changes due to forced deportations from throughout the Soviet Union. Much of Tashkent was destroyed in the 1966 Tashkent earthquake, but it was rebuilt as a model Soviet city. It was the fourth-largest city in the Soviet Union at the time, after Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev.
Today, as the capital of an independent Uzbekistan, Tashkent retains a multiethnic population, with ethnic Uzbeks as the majority. In 2009, it celebrated its 2,200 years of written history.
SIGHTSEEING AND EXCURSION
Tashkent City tour 01 – Half-day
The History Museum of the Peoples of Uzbekistan, the biggest of Tashkent’s museums, contains 8,000 exhibits. The archaeological findings displayed in the museum, present the life of the peoples of Central Asia as well as the life of Uzbek people from ancient times up to the modern age. The main city square Mustakillik (Independence Square) is an administrative and political centre of the city, where most of celebrations, national holidays take place.
Visit to the old city
Khazret Imam Square, is ancient square of the 16th century, locating the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, the Barak Khan Madrasah, Namazgokh Mosque and the Tillya Sheikh Mosque. Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum of the 16th century is a mausoleum of one of the first imams of Muslim world, who lived from 904 to 979 AD. Barak Khan Madrasah was constructed in the middle of the 16th century by the order of Barak Khan, the son of Suyunidj Khan, a founder of Tashkent Shaybanid dynasty. Nowadays it houses Muslim Religious Board of Uzbekistan, the administrative centre of the Mufti of Uzbekistan. Tillya Sheikh Mosque (constructed in 1902) is a functioning mosque possessing a rich Islamic library with ancient manuscripts. The highlight of the library is the immense Osman Koran, one of the world’s oldest copies (1200 years old). Namazgokh Mosque built in the middle of the 19th century, now it houses the Imam Ismail Al-Bukhari Islamic Institute. The Square “Chorsu” is the centre of an ancient Tashkent. It appeared in the 11th century and was a four-road junction, a place of trade. The Kukeldash Madrasah, located on the square Chorsu, was built in the 16th century in the reign of the Shaybanid dynasty, under the leadership of Kulbodo Kukeldash – the vizier. Now it is a primary school, where the basics of Islam are taught. The Juma (Friday) Mosque, nearby the Kukeldash Madrasah was erected in the middle of the 15th century by influential Islamic leader Khodja Akhrar (1404-1492). “Chorsu” bazaar – on the right of the square Chorsu, is the oldest city market, which was rebuilt according to the ancient style. It is picturesque, noisy and full of local colour.
Tashkent City tour 02 – Half-day
The Amir Timur Museum, the newest Tashkent’s museum is quite an impressive structure with blue ribbed dome and a richly decorated interior. Most of the displays are the models of Timur’s and Timurids greatest building projects. The Amir Timur Square is the centre of what was once known as the “new Russian city”. It appeared in 1883, when the Russians first settled in Tashkent. Since then the Square has always reflected the ruling government’s policy at that time. At present a gigantic statue of Amir Timur (1336-1405) mounted on a horse stands in the centre of the square. However, it was not always so. Earlier to him the statue of Karl Marx and before him Joseph Stalin occupied the place. But it all started with the statue of Constantine Kaufmann who was the first Russian Governor of Turkestan. The Theatre Square with the building of Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre is the city’s cultural centre. The architecture of the theatre, constructed in 1947, combines the European and oriental styles. The Museum of Applied Arts was founded in 1937. One of the main attractions of the museum is the house itself, decorated in traditional 19th century Uzbek style. The collection of the museum has on display items made by three generations of craftsmen and covering the entire range of folk art, plus items of the arts industry. The Square of Friendship with a monument of the same name in front of the Palace of People’s Friendship is a modern cultural city square. The Abdul Kassim Madrasah, built in the beginning of the 19th century is on the territory of the National Alisher Navoi Park. The cells of madrasah are occupied by craft workshops.
Tashkent City tour 03 – Half-day
The Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan displays a fine collection of art of different epochs. Visitors can see the Zoroastrian artifacts, 1000-year-old Buddhist statues, and Sogdian mural as well as 19th and 20th century items. Tashkent Metro is the only underground system of Central Asia with beautifully decorated stations. The monument “Courage” is remembrance of the earthquake of 1966.
Excursion to Ensemble Zanghi-Ata (14-19 centuries) – Half-day
A half-day excursion to visit a sacred place, now known as Zanghi-Ata. It is situated nearby Tashkent on the old caravan route. This ensemble is a monument of urban art and architecture of different periods of medieval epoch and associated with the name of Amir Timur.
Excursion to Chimgan – Full day
A full-day excursion to a mountain resort called Chimgan. It is situated on the south shore of the Charvak Reservoir, 80 km from Tashkent in the western region of the Tian-Shan mountain range. It is popular in spring and summer for its fresh air and picturesque landscape, mountains covered with green grass and blooming trees. During winter it is renowned as a favourite ski resort.
Farmers Markets and Bazaars in Tashkent
Markets are always the throbbing heart of any urbanism, and none more so than the Sunday flea market in the Yangiobod area of Tashkent, the weekend flea-market, one of the most famous “flea bazaars” (second hand market) of the former Soviet Union. .It is open only on weekends and located in the outskirts of the capital.
You can find anything there ‘from nails to nukes’, and do travel there. The market is enormous, maybe a few square kilometers in size. There is a variety of people on display – not well-dressed main street types but the common people of Tashkent, and the ex-Soviet stuff on view. You can find an ancient optical stuff from the 1960s and a bewildering variety of medals, many bookshops. The flea market would be a must for bargain-hunters and antique-seekers – be prepared to bargain hard. Anything from toilets and potted plants to dismembered fridges, second-hand books and pets were laid out on the streets for sale, and if you were lucky you could sometimes buy back your own, previously stolen, property. Visitors of this market were divided into two groups. The first – the ones who were familiar with the market and the second – the ones that come here before sunrise, armed with a flashlight hunting for the most real rarities. Unique things here can be bought at a price that is hundreds or even thousands of times cheaper than the real price.
The best landmarks to visit:
Broadway – Saligokh Street
Saligokh St, known locally as “Broadway”, has some street artists, etc. The street is easy to find from the Amir Temur Monument, just head away from the Uzbekistan Hotel. Recently, modern designer fashion and shops selling luxury goods from famous international brands have started to appear in Tashkent. Catering for the wealthy, these can be found in the Broadway area, on Amir Temur Street and Pushkin Street.
The most popular restaurants, café and chaykhana in Tashkent