Tashkent, literally “Stone City”; Sprawling Tashkent (Toshkent) is Central Asia’s hub and the place where everything in Uzbekistan happens. It’s one part newly built national capital, thick with the institutions of power, and one part leafy Soviet city, and yet another part sleepy Uzbek town, where traditionally clad farmers cart their wares through a maze of mud-walled houses to the grinding crowds of the bazaar.
This wonderful city is a real embodiment of the modern elegance that is inherent in many world capitals. At the same time it remains to be an oriental city. Tashkent has its own unique flavor. It combines medieval buildings as if descended from the pages of old oriental tales, elegant European architecture from the period of the Turkestan governor-generalship, standard concrete “boxes” of the Soviet era and, finally, glittering skyscrapers of glass and concrete (modern business centers and banks).
Major Attractions of Tashkent:
1. History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
Opened in 2006, the Amir Timur Museum is one of the newest museums in Tashkent. It was established to commemorate the 660th birthday of Amir Timur. The museum’s blue dome and ornate interior reference Central Asian Islamic architecture. The museum collection consists of ancient manuscripts, paintings, and engravings of Timurid’s age. The collection also includes a 14th century Quran from Syria. Amir Timur’s military career is reconstructed in a celebratory manner. The gardens surrounding the museum contain a statue of Timur on horseback and some prominent fountains.
2. Navoi Opera Theater
The artists of Navoi Theatre in Tashkent have graced the stages of La Scala, Milan, The Paris Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan and the Bolshoi and Mariynsky theatres. The theatre’s building is an architectural monument of the mid 20-th century, its courtyard depicts the wonderful world of the national folk art. The author of designing the building was Academician Alexei Shusev, he also built a mausoleum in Red Square in Moscow. Construction of the theatre began in 1939. In 1942, it had been suspended in connection with the difficulties of wartime, but in 1944 the construction continued
3. Crying Mother Monument
North of Mustaqillik maydoni is the Crying Mother Monument. Fronted by an eternal flame, it was constructed in 1999 to honour the 400,000 Uzbek soldiers who died in WWII. The niches along its two corridors house their names.
4. Kukeldash Medressa
The Madrassah Kukeldash is indeed one of most significant architectural sights of 16th century. For many years it has been the center of the city’s life: situated nearby was the market square, caravanserai, craftsmen’s quarters; the heralds proclaimed edicts of rulers, public executions were held; the residents shared news and rumors. In the 18th century it was converted first into a caravanserai for merchants trading at the nearby bazaar, then into a fortress. Finally, it was used as the setting for public executions: women in particular were stoned to death with rocks hurled from the parapet of the central portal. Earthquakes in 1866 significantly damaged the structure, and it sadly lay in ruins until it was restored in the mid-20th century.
5. Tashkent TV tower
This 375m-tall, three-legged monster, the epitome of Soviet design, stands north of the city centre but can be seen from all over town. The price of admission gets you up to the 100m viewing platform but photos are technically forbidden.
6. Chorsu Bazaar
This world-famous bazaar specializes in everything from jewelry, ceramics, pottery, national costumes, housewares and much-more. It is always bustling and well worth visit even if you do not intend to buy.
Mountains of dried fruits are located under the big turquoise cupola. These are unusual but guaranteed-to-please gift for friends back home. There are shoe stores and handicraft shops, stalls that sell traditional clothes and row after row of stalls selling national tyuboteyka, the traditional Uzbek men’s cap.
7. Statue of Timur
Right in the center of the square, there is a monument to the outstanding commander and statesman of the XIV century Amir Timur, who managed to establish centralized united state composing of 27 countries in the vast territory from the Mediterranean Sea to India. The monument is represented as a bronze figure of Amir Timur with imperial regalia on a reared horse. The monument plinth is engraved with an Amir Timur’s famous motto in four languages “Power is in Justice”.
8. Juma Mosque
Tashkent’s main Juma (Friday) mosque was built in the 1990s on the site of a 16th-century mosque destroyed by the Soviets. On warm Friday mornings the plaza in front overflows with worshippers. The hill with Juma Mosque on it is located between the three squares: Chorsu, Eski Juva and Khadra. When the emir saw the hill, he decided to build the capital of his province – the northern outpost Madinah ash-Shash, or Shashkent in Turkic – around it. Juma Mosque, Tashkent’s first Friday mosque, was built on the top of the hill.
9. Independence Square In Tashkent – The Central Square of Tashkent
Independence Square is located in the center of Tashkent city. It is a favorite resting place for the Tashkent residents. The fact that the most beautiful fountains of the city are located in the square contributed considerably to it.