Tashkent (Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент; Russian: Ташкент) 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.
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. To the visitor, the new city looks very impressive.
Places to visit
- 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 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. 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. 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. 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 2015).
- Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan(overview of 1500 years of history of art in Uzbekistan).
- Museum of Applied Arts
- Amur Timur Museum.
- Navoy Literary Museum(memories of the poet Alisher Navoi, calligraphy from Persia, miniatures from the 15th and 16th centuries).
- 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. 600 Som (Oct 2012).
- Tashkent Galley of Modern Art, (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 very nice exhibition of young artists. For students the admission is 500 som. Does not appear on any tourist maps or guides. No Address given. Not found on any internet searches; possibly confused with Art Gallery of Uzbekistan. Likely does not exist.
- Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater(classical ballet and opera), Ataturk Kochasi 28, ☎ 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 second world war. A plate acknowledging their contributions is part of the building.