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Tashkent is the capital city of Uzbekistan. It is an ancient city on the Great Silk Road 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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Tashkent
- 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.
- 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 façade.
- 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 cent.
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, ☎ 2600302. daily 9AM until 4PM.
- 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.
- History Museum, Sharaf Rashidova 30, ☎ 239-17-79. Tu-Su 10AM until 5PM, closed Mon. Artefacts from Zoroastrian and Buddhist times, exhibits related to the conquest of the khanates of Central Asia by the Russians, and to the first president of the independent Uzbek Republic, Islam Karimov. 6000 Som, locals: 1500 som (2012).
- Fine Arts Museum of Usbekistan, Movarounahr 16, ☎ 236-74-36. M 10AM to 2PM, W-Su 10AM unto 5PM, closed Tue. Decent collection of Russian and European art combined with regional specialties, such as Russian paintings depicting Uzbek people and their lifestyle, local antiquities, and decorations salvaged from ancient temples. Some parts of this museum may require extra ticket. 10000 Som, locals: 3000 som (2012).
- Museum of Applied Arts, Rakatboshi 15, ☎ 2533943. daily 9AM until 6PM. Located in a house built by a Russian diplomat in the 19th cent., with carved and painted plaster and carved wood, this museum gives an overview of old architectural details from Bukhara and Samarkand, ceramics and textiles, gift shop. 1200 Som.
- Amur Timur Museum, Amur Timur 1, ☎ 1336228. Tu-Su 10AM until 5PM, closed Mon. Rather kitschy murals depicting Timur. 3000 Som.
- Navoy Literary Museum, Navoi 69, ☎ 2441268. M-F 10AM until 5PM, Sa 10AM until 1PM, closed Sun. Memories of the poet Alisher Navoi, calligraphy from Persia, miniatures from the 15th and 16th centuries. 3000 Som.
- Art Gallery of Uzbekistan, Buyuk Turon 2. Tu-Sa 11AM until 5PM, closed Sun and Mon. Exhibitions of contemporary Uzbek artists in a modern museum building. 600 som (2012).
- 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, performanced M-F 6PM, Sat and Su 5PM. The theatre was builit 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 second world war. A plate acknowledging their contributions is part of the building. 1500S.
- Ilkhom Theatre (progressive theatre, preformances 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 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 less exciting, but they give a more authentic feeling. 7000 soms.
- 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 earth Quake on 26 April 1966. The whole city was reduced to rubble and then modern Tashkent was built.
- 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 9 May (Victory day) thousands of people visit the place to pay homage to the victims of 2nd world War. Statute of War Heroes are on the southern wall of the monument. A statute of 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.
- Alisher Navoiy Park (Exit Milly Bog Station on the Chilonzor line of the Metro). This large park is popular on the weekends where many weddings are held. A fairground and man-made lake are also well-frequented by locals.
- Amir Timur Monument & Park. The park has been recently renovated. The Amir Temur Monument is in the center of Tashkent. Amir Temur in armour sits on his horse, holding the reins with his left hand and greeting the people with his right hand. A bust of Karl Marx previously occupied the position during Soviet times.
- Aqua Park, Amir Temur road, near TV Tower. The water park has several pools, one with a wave machine, water chutes and high slides. Well worth a few hours in the hot weather. Take your own towel and pool footwear (the paths can get very hot). There is a restaurant and bars inside. Adult 7000 Sum, Child 4000 Sum for 3 hours.
Uzbek national dishes are similar to those of other Central Asian countries.
- 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 - meat (beef or mutton) and onion encased in pastry and baked in wood-fired, clay ovens shaped like inverted beehives called tandories.
- 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 visiting Uzbekistan with a family must make it a point to see the process of making Sumalyak. 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 can 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. Before meals you will always be offered warm water poured over your hands from a jug. Before drinking tea, it is traditional to bless the cup with the first splash of tea from the pot. This serves ritual and hygiene purposes. Locals also believe in the palate-sterilising proerties of vodka.
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 every where. Kazan Kabob near Yoshlik Metro, Near Beruni Metro on Sufiski, on Novoi Street is very Popular among 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 for a Price of 1.5 to 2 USD with a Bottle of Cola.
- 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. Russian language only.
- 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 spaghetti, 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 place.
- Dilkash, Mirobod Ko'chasy ((see map)). Specialty is Shashlik from 7000 som and up, fresh salads and non. Plov and soup also available. No liquor is sold on premises but nearby shops sell vodka and beer.
- Central Asian Plov Center, 1 Guards Colonel Khodjaev Street (1 ул. Ифтихор) Tashkent, Uzbekistan (see map, close to TV tower and Museum of Victims of Repression). Plov is available for lunch, together with fresh tomato and other salads. All the plov is prepared outside in huge cauldrons. Go early as the place gets packed and sometimes they can run out.
- Al Delfin. Excellent Arabic food. Great sheesha can be found here.
- Amfora Greek Rastaurant. (АМфОРА in Russian). Near junction of Shahrisabz Street and Movarounnakhr Street. Greek themed restaurant.
- Ariston. Sabir Rahimov, st.Lashkarbegi, 2 (Off of Pushkin street). Like Polyanka, excellent food and cabaret entertainment (suitable for families).
- Ariston Park. One of a few good places to eat in Boghi Eram Recreation Park
- Caravan, A Khalkat kochasi 22a, ☎ 7777777. breakfast US$10, lunch US$15, dinner US$20.
- Jumanji (One of the best restaurants in town. Serves big portions of high quality Chinese, central asian and european cuisines), 62/2 Yunus Khos Khodjib St. and K. Jalilov St. intersection, ☎ +(998 71) 255-42-00. 12:00 - 23:00. lunch US$15, dinner US$20.
- La Riva. Fast food plus huge variety of different International dishes from Russia, Korea, Italy, Tatarstan and etc. Many college students drop in throughout the day and the evening. Right next to Salvador Dali night club
- Khan Kuk Kwan. South Korean Cuisine.
- Mir Burger. So called Turkish McDonald's. Located on Tashkent Broadway.
- Nam Dae Mun, ☎ +998 71 2320105. 24 Bukhara Street, near Alisher navoi Theatre and Broadway. Fine Korean and Japanese restaurant. Reasonably priced too.
- Pizzeria Bella Napoli, 63, U. Nasir Street (Right next to Bon! coffee shop), ☎ 2539183, 2539184. 11AM-11PM. Small Pizzeria, great atmosphere and reasonably priced too (suitable for families). You might need to reserve a table on weekends as places gets packed some evenings. They do free delivery as well.
- Polyanka Cafe. Not far from Boghi Eram Recreation Park. Excellent food and cabaret entertainment (suitable for families).
- Ristorante Semo de Roma (One of the best Italian restaurants in town. Excellent food and a very nice terrace), 40, Chekhov Street, ☎ 1501835, 1501836, e-mail: email@example.com. 10:30AM-11PM. Lunch US$10, Dinner US$15.
- Tang Cheng Chinese Restaurant, 60A Amir Temur St, ☎ +998 71 1358916. Good Chinese restaurant.
As is common in other Central Asian countries, tea is drunk by most people, but without milk. Black coffee is also available everywhere. Some coffee shops and cafes offer good coffee, but the best of them is probably Amore Coffee at the MIR store just off of Broadway.
Alcoholic drinks are readily available. Outdoor bars are popular in good weather. Uzbek wine, vodka and many different beers are available. The Russian beer "Baltika" is popular. Baltika 3 is good and similar to other international beers. Baltika 0 has no alcohol, Baltika 5 and 7 are also good, and Baltika 9 is very strong. A new local beer, Sarbast, has been launched and should be about half the price of imported beers. It is quite good and at 4.2% (red label), not too strong. Sarbast is also available with a blue label at 5.6%.
Nightclubs, as everywhere offer expensive drinks and typically play a mix of Russian and Western music. Strip shows are common.
- Rich night club is part of Dedeman hotel.
- Club Diplomat S, Navoy Street. 200m from Dedeman hotel. Has billiard tables. Entrance 3000 Sum (free for ladies). It can be very busy and getting in may be difficult if your face does not fit.
- Studio Cafe, S.Azimova Street. Very modern cafe/bar with good food and drink.
- Fashion Bar, 25 Kunaev Street. At the junction with Shahrisabz Street. Another modern bar/cafe, showing Fashion TV on large screens with music until late at night.
- Diamond Club nightclub, below Arkada center on the Broadway. New and modern nightclub with a sci-fi theme. Check out the 'Predator' look-alikes.
The Chelsea Arms in Kakhara Street is a 'traditional' themed English pub. It looks like it has been transplanted from the East End of London. It also offers Wifi! Tashkent also has at least two Irish-themed bars - the new Irish Pub and Patrick's Irish pub, 45a Istikbol street.
Farmers Markets and Bazaars
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 quantities).
Saligokh Street, 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. The 'mirstore' just off of Saligokh Street has a modern supermarket, coffee bar and hugely overpriced fashion stores. This area, known locally as "Demir," also has MirBurger, which has burgers, pizza and local dishes at reasonable prices. There is also a Georgian restaurant ("Tblisi") and a Chinese restaurant. There is a heavy police (militsiya) presence here and foreigners are not often, but occasionally asked for their documents. It is advisable to keep a photocopy of your passport and visa with you, but leave the originals in the hotel safe.
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, Amir Temur street and Pushkin street.
- Human House, Usmon Nosir 30/9 (not far from the Grand Mir hotel), ☎ +99871-255-44-11, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM until 7PM. It features hand made crafts and clothing of all sorts, ranging from full outfits to purses to beautiful hand-painted tea sets and ceramics at very reasonable prices. It is non-profit and is meant to help provide income to the craftspersons, who are often from remote and very poor villages.
- Caravan Art Gallery (high quality handicraft), Abdullah Quahor 22 (near Istiqlol Palace next to Alisher Navoimonument), ☎ 2556296, 1527555, e-mail: email@example.com.
- Abdulkasym Madrassah (lacquer paintings with oriental motives) (Metro Xalqar Dostligi).
- Rakhimov Ceramics Studios, Kukchka Dabaza 15, ☎ 1490435. by appointment only.
- Orient House, Amir Temur Street 51, ☎ 2355833, 2356164, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are souvenir shops in the Grand Mir, Intercontinental, Dedeman Silk Road Tashkent, Tashkent Palace and Uzbekistan Hotels.
- Turkuaz Hypermart (formerly GUM, good address for Western clothing and travel accessories), Akhunbabaev Sqare (at the west end of Navoi, across the street from Hotel Chorsu). 9AM until 8.30PM.
- Tashkent Department Store, 17 Uzbekistan Ave, ☎ 2563001, 2336288.
- Kontinent (good supermarket with wide range of stuff), by the Grand Mir hotel at Usmon Nosir (Shota Rustavelli).
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Tashkent on Wikivoyage.