Tashkent (Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент; Russian: Ташкент) is the capital city of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is an ancient city on the Great Silk Road from China to Europe.
Firs references about Tashkent, as a settlement, can be found in the ancient eastern sources dated back to the second century BC. In China , it was called Yuni; in the inscription of the Persian king Shapur I, the Tashkent oasis was called Chach; in the transcriptions of some China sources, the city also was called Shi, and the Arabs called it Shash. The name Tashkent appeared in the Turkic sources of 9-12 centuries, while in Russia in the 15th century it was known as Tashkura.
The name of Tashkent comes from the two Turkic word "tash" (stone) and the word "kent" (city), meaning "city of stones". Another opinion refers to the Sogdian word "tschatsch", meaning "place on a hill".
Tashkent is the largest capital city in Central Asia and has a population of 2.4 million people (2017).
Today, Tashkent is a post-Soviet city that has little remaining from its ancient Central Asian past. After the devastating 1966 earthquake little remains of the ancient city and earlier modernization work following the 1917 revolution. It now is a mixture of modern new office buildings, hotels, lovely parks and Soviet-style apartment blocks. The streets are clean and amazingly safe. Over the last few years the government has embarked on a major reconstruction program in the centre of the city. Roads, government buildings and parks are all being. As a result, the new city looks pretty impressive
Tashkent is waiting for a boom. The infrastructure, hotels and shops are
there but the influx of people and business has yet to get materialized,
particularly with the ongoing effort to open up the country to the world.
The city has a good public transport system which is cheap. The metro/underground system is typical of the old Soviet style - with large and impressive stations - and is actually quite modern. There are also modern buses and trams many of which were renewed in 2008. Tickets (which on the metro are small blue coin size tokens) cost 1200 soms (as of June 2017) for any single journey, regardless of distance or connections (metro only, no bus connections). It is not permitted to take photographs in the metro stations. Police will usually be present on all platforms. Do not risk taking photos "while the policeman is not watching" because they have security cameras everywhere and policeman will approach you instantly and check your documents. In all cases do have documents while you are taking the metro (or anywhere in the city), for you can be checked any time (including both passport and registration slips from your hotel) though in reality it does not happen that often. Bags and passports will be checked upon entering the stations. Trains run every 5 minutes.
Places to See
- 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 cent. 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 cent. 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 cent. 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 cent. 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 centuries.
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. Chorsu Metro. ). 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. 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.
- 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, Zarqaynar 114 (In the middle of Khast Imom square. Gafur Gulom metro. ), ☎ 2600302. daily 9AM until 4PM. The centrepiece is the world's oldest Koran - a large, surprisingly well preserved deerskin copy from the 7th century brought to Tashkent by Timur
- 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 cent. Barak Khan died in 1556 and is buried in Samarkand. Now it's full of souvenir / craft shops.
History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan, Sharaf Rashidova 30, ☎ 2391779. Tu-Su 10AM until 5PM, closed Mon. Artefacts from Zoroastrian and Buddhist times, exhibits relating to the conquest of the khanates of Central asia by the Russians and to the first president of the independent Uzbek Republic, Islam Karimov. Currently undergoing renovation on the top floor so much of the exhibition space is closed (Jun 2015Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan (overview of 1500 years of history of art in Uzbekistan), Movarounahr 16, ☎ 2367436. M 10AM to 2PM, W-Su 10AM unto 5PM, closed Tue. Museum of Applied Arts (in a house built by a Russian diplomat in the 19th cent., with carved and painted plaster and carved wood, overview of old architectural details from Bokhara and Samarkand, ceramics and textiles, gift shop), Rakatboshi 15, ☎ 2533943. daily 9AM until 6PM. Amur Timur Museum (rather kitschy murals depicting Timur), Amur Timur 1, ☎ 1336228. Tu-Su 10AM until 5PM, closed Mon.
- Navoy Literary Museum (memories of the poet Alisher Navoi, calligraphy from Persia, miniatures from the 15th and 16th centuries), Navoi 69, ☎ 2441268. M-F 10AM until 5PM, Sa 10AM until 1PM, closed Sun. Art Gallery of Uzbekistan (exhibitions of contemporary Uzbek artists in a modern museum building), Buyuk Turon 2. Tu-Sa 11AM until 5PM, closed Sun and Mon
- The Art Gallery of Uzbekistan, (Not far from Amir Temur square and Westminster University). It is a nice modern gallery. Now (2008 June) there are some UN posters, some pictures and a very nice exhibition of young artists. Theatres
Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater (classical ballet and opera), Ataturk Kochasi 28, ☎ 2339081. ticket counter besides the main entrance open on performance days from 10AM until 7PM, performances M-F 6PM, Sat and Su 5PM. The theatre was built on the plans of Alexey Shchusev, the architect of Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow in neoclassical style. The theater has special significance for Japanese nationals because it was built by the Japanese prisoners of war during the 2nd WW. A plate acknowledging their contributions is part of the building. ().
Ilkhom Theatre (progressive theatre, performances in Russian, sometimes with English subtitles), Pakhator 5, ☎ 2422241, tickets counter 11AM until 6PM. Performances Tu-Sa 6.30PM. (2500-5000S).
- Tashkentland, (Near Aqua park, not far from Tashkent TV tower). An amusement park. It has a few nice rides, nothing special if you have been in big park, but a nice place to spend a free afternoon with friends. It is also worth a visit to a simple park in Tashkent - although they have less attractions and are less exciting, but they give you a more authentic feel.
- Monument of Courage is on Sharof Rashidov Street, 300 Meters from the Independence Square. The monument was built to acknowledge the courage of the people at the time of the Tashkent earthquake on 26th April 1966. The whole city was reduced to rubble and then modern Tashkent was built.
- Amir Temur Monument and Museum in the Amir Timur park. The park has been recently renovated and looks very nice. The Amir Temur Monument is in the center of Tashkent. Amir Temur, in an armour, is sitting on his horse, holding the reins of his horse with his left hand and greeting the people with his right hand.
- Japanese Garden behind the Intercontinental Hotel is popular during summers. Many couples go there for wedding photos.
- Boghi Eram Recreation Park. Fun fair for the young and not so young.
- central market 'Oloy Bozori (known by most locals as the 'Alayskee Bazaar', Amir Timur Street has beautifully laid out displays of local produce, dried fruit and nuts. Every Friday and Saturday there is a whole sale Dry Fruits Bazaar.
- War memorial eternal flame and park has the names of all the fallen Victims of 2nd world war. Sharof Rashidov Avenue (City center).
- Tashkent TV Tower Viewing levels and restaurants with views of the city . The TV Tower, built in 1981 is the highest building in Central Asia. It is 375 m high. It is the 10th highest building in the world and the 2nd highest buildings in GIS and has a revolving restaurant 110 meters above the ground.
- Brothers Tombs is another monument popular tourist attraction and on 9th May (Victory day) thousands of people visit the place to pay homage to the victims of 2nd WW. Statute of War Heroes are on the southern wall of the monument. A statute of a famous Uzbek General Sobir Rokhim is also there.
- Mustaqilik (Independence Square) is the political center of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Government buildings and the Senate are located here.
- Independence Monument was erected 1991 as a symbol of the sovereignty of the country. It shows a golden globe and the outlines of Uzbekistan.