Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan and
Central Asia's premier metropolis, betrays little of its
2,000-year history as a ‘Silk Route’, crossroads of ancient
trade route from China to Europe. Little remains of the ancient
city after the 1966 earthquake and earlier modernisation work
following the 1917 revolution. Tashkent is a very Soviet city
that has little remaining from its ancient Central Asian past.
The city has a mixture of modern new office buildings, hotels,
parks and crumbling Soviet style apartment blocks. The streets
are generally clean and there are not too many potholes in the
city center. Further out, the infrastructure is not so good.
Over the last few years the Uzbek
government has embarked on a major reconstruction program in the
centre of the city. Roads, government buildings and parks are
all being reconstructed (many historical buildings and sites are
bulldozed in process). To the visitor, the new city looks very
impressive, although many of the local residents have yet to see
any improvement in their residential areas.
Tashkent is waiting for a boom. The
infrastructure, hotels and shops are there but the influx of
people and business has failed to materialise. This is caused in
part by a combination of government policy and bad publicity.
This modern city of 2.5 million people, the
fourth largest in the CIS after Moscow, St. Peterburg and Kiev,
holds much to arrest the curious traveller, from imposing
squares, monumental architecture and fine museums, to the
mud-brick maze of the old Uzbek town, autumn colors on dappled
poplar lanes and the sweet spray of fountains on burning summer
daysIt's hard to visit Uzbekistan without passing through
Tashkent, and there are many facilities- consular,
communications and medical, along with a busy (and very
affordable) cultural life. The architecture and sculptures are
an organic part of the city's landscape and give Tashkent a
cheerful air. Head out from the Hotel Uzbekistan to leafy Amir
Timur Square, where a statue of Tamerlane on horseback. Follow
the direction of Tamerlane's horse, between 19th century
gymnasia, along Sayilgokh Street, reborn as 'Broadway', where
portrait artists, hawkers and cafes compete for your custom, the
former residence of Grand Duke N.K Romanov (1850-1917) a
first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II, exiled here in 1881 for
exploits involving the crown jewels. The firebrick building of
dog and deer statues, domes and spires, is based on the outline
of the double-headed eagle.
Although Uzbek is now the official
language, Russian is the native language for most Tashkent
dwellers, although most also speak Uzbek. Most businesses use
Russian in their signs, menus and other printed material. Only
government institutions use Uzbek as the first language, and
even then, many government forms and reports are in Russian,
rather than Uzbek. Currently, Uzbek uses the Latin alphabet
rather than the Cyrillic that was used during the Soviet Union.
This is a source of some confusion for many Uzbeks, especially
those of the older generation. Shortly after the fall of the
Soviet Union, and Uzbekistan declared independence in 1991, the
written Uzbek language was converted back into Latin characters.
Many older Uzbeks have difficulty reading the Latin characters.
Uzbek is a Turkic-based language, and while Uzbeks and Turks
cannot completely communicate directly, the better educated on
both sides can usually find some common understanding.
Many of the signs in Tashkent are in
Cyrillic. A significant number of Russian words are similar to
their English counterparts. Learning the Cyrillic alphabet-
which is not as difficult as one might think — will help a
traveller to read signs and in restaurants. It is very useful
for the casual visitor to Tashkent to learn a few basic Russian
or Uzbek words and phrases. If you need to speak English, young
people are your best bet, and even then there is no guarantee
that they will speak more than very basic English.
The name Tashkent is usually derived from
the Turkish word "tash" (stone) and the Persian word "kent"
(city), meaning "city of stones". Another opinion refers to the
Sogdian word "tschatsch", meaning "place on a hill"
Clothing: Very light and loose clothing (preferably cotton
or natural fibres) is recommended for daytime use, with a light
jumper and/or casual jacket for the cooler evenings. Because of
a large amount of sightseeing on foot in dry, dusty and
sometimes rough areas (i.e. dirt, cobblestones, etc.),
comfortable, solid walking shoes with strong soles and support
are essential You may be required to remove your shoes on entry
to some religious sites. There are no special clothing
requirements for visiting Islamic religious sites, except that
you should take care to cover most parts of your body including
arms and legs. Above all travellers are encouraged to dress for
comfort rather than fashion. Valuable jewellery and any clothing
requiring special attention should be left at home. Due to very
high danger of sunburn, your clothing should offer as much
protection as possible. A hat with good shade protection and
sunglasses are essential. In some areas the average visitor may
appear extremely wealthy to local people. A lavish display of
jewellery, bulging handbags and wallets and a neck full of
cameras will make you stand out in a crowd. Be discreet,
respectful of local culture and traditions and carry the minimum
Health: You will be travelling in
areas, which are largely free of major infection diseases, so
there are no official vaccination requirements for foreign
visitors. However we strongly recommend you to consult your
physician of the Vaccination Centre for current health warnings
and recommended vaccination. As it is practically inevitable in
the areas where water is high in mineral and metallic salts (as
in the case with Central Asia) one should be prepared for minor
gastric complaints. Consult your physician or pharmacist for
recommended remedies. Throughout the areas you will be
travelling, one of the main health warnings is dehydration. At
all times maintain a steady intake of non- lcoholic liquids.
Sunburn is another major problem. Bring adequate suntan lotion
and a wide brimmed hat. If desired, you may also bring a supply
of vitamins, throat lozenges, a throat gargle to prevent basic
infections, cold / flu tablets, aspirins, Band-Aids, antiseptics
and antibacterial cream. Please, advise us if you have any
allergies or particular medical aliments which may require
special attention during the trip, if your doctor has prescribed
any medication, make sure that you have sufficient supplies to
last the duration of your holiday.
Places to visit in Tashkent:
Independence Square: This is the largest square in Tashkent
is more like a large park than a square. With several monuments
and fountains, surrounded by impressive public buildings and
filled with trees and flower beds, the Independence Square in
Tashkent is a showcase of modern Uzbekistan. Today the
Independence History consists of several areas: administrative
buildings, the recreation area with green zones and fountains,
monuments including the Arch of Independence and the
Independence Monument. The story of the Independence square as a
center of Tashkent goes back to more than hundred years. The
General Governor of Turkestan erected here his military fortress
in 1865. Since 1974 this place was called the Avenue of Parades,
where military parades and demonstrations of workers were held
to celebrate the holidays of May 1st, International Workers Day,
May 9 - Victory Day. Passing through the arch of silver with
figures of storks around the fountain, which marks the entrance
to the Independence Square, you will see the the main monument
of the Independence square. It is a high pedestal with a golden
globe erected on the top. Before the pedestal there is a statue
of a seated mother with a baby in her arms. The monumental
complex represent the revival of Uzbekistan as a free
independent state. The Monument of Independence was erected in
1992, and the complete reconstruction of the area was completed
On the opposite sits a statue depicting a mourning mother sadly
looking down onto an eternal flame in memory of her children who
fell when defending the country, to commemorate the fallen
unidentified soldiers in the past World Wars.
Administrative buildings, including the Cabinet of Ministers,
Senate of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Finance are located on
the western side of the Independence square in Tashkent.
Broadway Square: Saligokh Street,
known locally as 'Broadway', has some street artists and
painters, who display their original artworks. There are many
shopping centers, fashion shops, boutiques, restaurants, and
cafes are located on and around the Broadway in Tashkent. Here
you may also pick up some handmade crafts and bric-a-racs.
Amir Temur Square: Amir Temur Square
is the true center of the city, where stands a famous monument
to Amir Temur. From here radiates main roads of the city to all
corners of the country and neighboring states. When you get off
at the Amir Temur Square station of Tashkent Underground and
pass through the pedestrian subway and you will be in the Amir
Temur Square.In front of you will see the famous Monument to
Amir Temur. Surrounded before with century-old plane trees,
today, the monument to Amir Temur is seen from afar – as
recently planted young trees replaced the old ones, creating a
green background in the square.
Walking through tracks towards to the Amir Temur monument, you
will see this great militant sitting on a horse raising his hand
to the sky as if he is blessing the nation. On the monument you
will read the wise words of him: “The strength is in justice”,
inscribed in three languages. History of the Amir Temur
Square The history of the square is very interesting. It was
firstly designed in 1870 by Imperial Russian architects as a
central park of the new Tashkent (see Old Tashkent) and called
Constantine Square. Since then the main monument in the center
of the square was changed several times. The first was one to
General Kaufmann later replaced by monument to Free Workers
(1917), monument to 10th anniversary to October revolution
(1927), monument to Stalin (1947), monument to Karl Marx (1968).
Since 1993, the monument to Amir Temur stands in the center of
the square; the square is now called “Amir Temur Hiyoboni,”
which in translation from Uzbek means “Amir Temur Square”. To
the south of the Amir Temur Square across the road are famous
Tashkent Chimes. The first one was erected in 1947. The clock
itself was brought as a war trophy after the World War II from
city of Konigsberg. The one on the right, which was built in
November 2009, fully replicate the architecture of its sister.
To the left of the Tashkent Chimes stands enormous snow-white
building surrounded by lawns, flower beds and young trees. This
International Congress Hall of Uzbekistan was built in 2009 to
the honor of Tashkent’s 2200th anniversary. Exterior view of the
Palace is very impressive. The Palace is crowned by a large dome
with the golden statue of storks on the top that symbolize the
peace and happiness.
TV Tower: The Tashkent Television
Tower is a 375 metres high tower and is the tallest tower in
Central Asia. The construction of Tashkent TV Tower is started
in 1978 and it began operation 6 years later, on 15 January
1985. It was the 3rd tallest tower in the world from 1985 to
1991. It is of a vertical cantilever structure, and is
constructed out of steel. Its architectural design is a product
of the Terxiev, Tsarucov & Semashko firm. The tower has an
observation deck located 97 metres (318 ft) above the ground. It
is the tallest structure in Central Asia. It also belongs to the
World Federation of Great Towers, ranking as the 8th tallest.
Abdulkasim Medressah, (in the
southern part of the old city). This medressah was erected in
honour of the great thinker Abdulkhasim Khan in the beginning of
the 19th century. This Medressah is situated close to the
Parliment of Uzbekistan.
Khavendi Takhur Sheikh Mausoleum.
The mausoleum was founded in the 14th cent. The present
buildings were erected on the old foundations in the 18th and
19th century. The mausoleum is constructed with light yellow
bricks and has no decoration in the interior.
Kaldyrgach-bly Mausoleum. This
mausoleum is the most ancient monument in Tashkent. The dome in
the form of a pyramid dates from the 15th century. and is said
to remind the mazars in the Kazakh steppes. The mausoleums
contains the tomb of a famous Kazakh political, Tole-bly, who
had the nickname Kaldyrgach ("swallow").
Yunus Khan Mausoleum. The mausoleum
is one of the few monuments in Tashkent dating to the epoch of
the Timurids. Yunus Khan (1415-1487) was a descendant of Gengiz
Khan and grandfather of the Indian moghul Babur. The building
was erected in the 15th century and restored several times. It
has no decoration except 'panjara' on the main facade.
Mausoleum of Abubakr Muhammad Kaffal
Shashi. It is the mausoleum of one of the first Imams who
died in 976/977. The present mausoleum is rectangular in shape
and is crowned by a conical dome. The frieze with inscriptions
over the entrance and the panjara (wooden lattices) in the
window openings are especially remarkable.
Mausoleum of Zainuddin-bobo Sheikh.
This is the mausoleum of the son of the founder of a famous Sufi
order. His father sent him to disseminate the ideas of this
order. The mausoleum is of the khanaka type. The hall is covered
with a double dome. Nearby is a chillyakhona (subterranean
monastic cell) dating to the 12th and 13th century.
The Old Town has retained much of its old charm. Here you
will find low adobe houses with shady courtyards, narrow winding
streets and many ancient mosques and madressas.
Chorsu Bazaar (Tashkent’s farmers market under a huge
cupola, spices, grain, dairy products, fruits of the season),
(Southern edge of the old town). Here you can encounter the
hustle and bustle of everyday life in Central Asia and you will
have a good chance to see people in the colourful local dress.
Kukeldash Medressa, Nawai Prospect (on a hill overlooking
Chorsu Bazaar, near the Friday Mosque). This Quran school was
built in the 16th century during the reign of Abdulla-Khan by
the vizier, scientist and poet Kulbobo Kukeldash, Kukeldash
means “the Khan’s foster brother’. Kukeldash Medressa is one of
the largest and best preserved Quran schools in Central Asia.
The Medressa has a traditional composition with a large inner
yard with hujras (pupils’ cells) and darshakona and mosque in
the corners. Uzs 2000.
Ensemble Khazret Imam, (2 km north of the Circus on
Zarquanyar). Tomb of one of the first Imams of Tashkent,
Visitors may wish to visit the mosque in the Hast Imam area of
the city. The library there contains the remaining fragments of
the world’s first Koran, written only 19 years after the death
of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).
Tellya Sheikh Mosque. With a beautiful Islamic library
with ancient ceilings and ancient manuscripts and the Osman
Koran. It is considered the oldest Koran in the world and is
said to have been stained with the blood of Hazrat Osman in 655.
Moyie Mubarek Library Museum (preserving the world’s
oldest Quran, from the 7th century),Zarqaynar 114, daily 9 AM
until 4 PM.
Architectural Complex Zengi-Ata, (in the Zengi-Ata
settlement near Tashkent). Burial place of sheikh Aj-Hodzha,
nicknamed Zengi-Ata, which means “black”, living from the end of
12th to first half of 13th century.
Barrak-Khan Madrassah, (to the east of Chorsu market,
among the clay-walled buildings of the old city). The Medrassah
was completed in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Barak Khan
died in 1556 and is buried in Samarkand.
Shopping in Tashkent:
Local produce, such as fruit, nuts, vegetables can be very
good, especially when they are in season. In the late summer,
local melons appear on the streets and in the bazaars and are
tasty and very cheap.
Most local residents do their primary shopping in bazaars. There
are many of them in Tashkent, the largest of which is the Chorsu
Bazaar. It is huge, colorful, teeming with people and offers
just about anything that can be purchased locally, from produce
to locally-made furniture and hardware. Hand-crafted items,
including crockery, rugs, traditional dress, etc., are also
available and far less expensive than in the shops frequented by
tourists. Have a local go with you to the bazaars if possible.
Foreigners are inevitably charged higher prices. Bargaining is
common, but requires some language skills.
Alayskiy Bazaar. Alayskiy Bazaar is the least noisy and
crowded bazaar in Tashkent. Only here can you can buy button and
oyster mushrooms, Caspian sturgeon and Far Eastern salmon.
Chorsu (Eski Juva) Bazaar, (in the very heart of the Old
Town, next to Chorsu square.). The most exiting oriental market
in Tashkent. Eski Juva bazaar is the biggest and oldest bazaar
in Central Asia, operating on the same spot for over two
thousand years. The market was reconstructed in the 1980s. The
stalls of the bazaar stand under seven huge domes covered with
colored glazed tiles. In the biggest domed building you will
find all kinds of spices and cooking herbs: saffron and brown
tree bark, red and black pepper, thyme and cloves, nutmeg,
cardamom, as well as raisins and dried apricots, almonds and
pistachios, walnuts and peanuts. The bazaar is famous for
peanuts boiled in sugar or honey, covered with sesame seeds.
Under the small domes are the workshops. Here the craftsmen make
and sell jewelry, painted cradles (beshik); gold embroidery;
Uzbek chests with metal decorations; embroidered suzanes (thin
tapestries) and jiyak (lace for trimming the lower edges of
women's trousers); quilted men's (chapan) and women's (yashmak)
caftans; kurpacha quilts and pichok knives in leather or brass
sheaths and national musical instruments. Potters offer lyagan
dishes and kosa bowls with blue and turquoise painted patterns.
You will also find carpets from Khiva, Samarkand, Bukhara,
Afghanistan and Turkey.
Farkhatsky bazaar, (selling only melons, especially in
September and October).
Hippodrome bazaar, (best for (leather)clothes, shoes,
very crowded). every day except Mon.
Parkentsky bazaar, (best for beer, biscuits, cigarettes,
coffee, cookies, cooking oil, soft drinks, liquor in large
Food in Tashkent:
Uzbek national dishes are similar to those of other Central
The national dish is Plov (also called Osh, Plaf, "Pulau" in
Urdu). It is a mixture of rice, mild spices, yellow or orange
carrots, mutton, meat, cumin (zeera) and, according to
individualized recipes, occasionally other ingredients.
Shashlik - meat (usually mutton, beef or chicken) and chunks of
fat roasted kebab style over charcoal.
Samsa ("Samosa" in Hindi or Urdu) are similar to South American
empanadas - most commonly with meat (beef or mutton)and potato
and sometimes with onion and mushrooms, encased in pastry and
baked in wood-fired, clay ovens shaped like inverted beehives
The local bread, round and flat, is also baked in tandories. It
is called Non (or in Russian, "lepioshki,", "Naan" in Urdu) and
is usually delicious. Nan from Samarkand is especially well
regarded by many in Samarkand but each region takes pride in its
own version of non just as it does its version of Osh.
Though the King of Uzbek food is Plov but Uzbeks feel very proud
to make Sumalyak. To every body Sumalyak is a miracle sweet
dish. It is made from Pure wheat and with out any addition of
sweetener. The art is such that Sumalyak becomes sweet and
Uzbeks take it on very special occasions. A visitor if visting
Uzbekistan with a family must make it a point to see the process
of making Sumalyak. Readers can find all the information in
detail about making sumalyak and other Uzbek Cuisines from link.
There are hundreds of small cafes in Tashkent (and other Uzbek
cities and villages) offering these and other local dishes at
very inexpensive prices. A meal of salad, bread, tea, soup and
shashlik at around 2-3 USD isn't difficult to find. Bear in mind
that sanitation standards leave a lot to be desired in many of
these cafes. Especially on warm days, look to see if the meat is
kept refrigerated before it is cooked.
There are many small restaurants serving simple meals at good
prices. Burgers and kebabs are common. Borsch (soup) is tasty
and perfect on a cold day. Drujba Burgers (a local chain) are
everywhere. Kazan Kabob near Yoshlik (Milli Bogh) Metro, Near
Beruni Metro on Sufiski, on Novoi Street is very Popular amongst
the local population. In Kulug there are cafes which cook good
quality Korean Food, In Badamzar Area Local Home cooked Uzbek
Food is Popular, Lavash (Armenian) and Shaurma (Arabic) can be
taken from many Kiosks in Town.
Milli Plov, Plaf is near TV Tower is the most Popular Place.
Thousands of People eat. Bukhara Food is at the Corner of
Shahristan Street, Near Museum of Repression and offer cheap
Good quality food. Try the Following Dishes, Lavash (Armenian),
Shurpa (Uzbek), Kazi Kabob (Uzbek)
Bravissimo at junction of Shahrisabz Street and Movarounnakhr
Street serves cakes and good local food.
Neft i Gaz kitchen, it is a canteen of a company, but many
people from around go there, as it is cheap and tasty. It serves
most traditional dishes - plov, lagman (a soup with spagetti,
meat and other ingredients), borsh. Languages russian and uzbek,
but it is easy to order, as it is canteen type and you can just
show what you want. Lunch shouldn't cost more than 2000 sums. It
is not far from Amir Temur boulevard and Westminster University.
If you ask around people will know it and can show you more
specifically as it is in the backyard and not so easy to find.
Note: It works only from 12-16PM
Cafe Bukhara, close to the railway station (Avliyoota st. and
little ring road intersection) - cheap and tasty local food,
nice atmosphere and you can buy own drinks in a shop next to the