Tashkent is a monumental city with vast avenues and gigantic buildings reminiscent of the Soviet past. Maybe it's not as nice as the Almaty green; but, fortunately, despite the monumentality of Soviet inspiration, it does not have the appearance thanks to of Skopje. Instead, it has lots of green spaces and an environment that made me feel at home. And this despite I prefer small places.
In short, contrary to what is often written, it is a mistake to ignore Tashkent and go to run to Samarkand or Bukhara.
One of the things I noticed soon, I barely entered the Uzbequistão, was the friendliness of the people. I've been consciously deceived by a taxi driver on the border, that's for sure; but coming from Kazakhstan, I felt a great difference in the environment, in the treatment, in the kindness of the people. I admit it may have been just a first-time impression, but I liked it same of the Uzbek people.
On the three days I was in town, I ended up having time to see some attractions like the Chorsu Market, get lost in cafes like BookCafe or just walk without great goals, taking refuge in one or another park to escape the heat. Of these days, here is a short list with what to do in Tashkent, if you do not have the time or desire to go traveling in the wind.
In Tashkent, I regretted not having planned (but already there!). Because there is one thing I did not see because of lack of planning.
Things to do in Tashkent (my experience)
Named one of the most important markets in Central Asia, Chorsu Market is surely one of the main attractions of Taskhent. For first-time visitors to the Uzbek capital is, by the way, the first place to visit. This is because at Mercado Chorsu it is possible to get a taste of what trade would be in the historic Silk Road.
The market is dominated by a circular central space that displays a dome to remind the Portuguese Crystal Palace. At least that's what occurred to me as soon as I got there. Inside, through the bustle of a market, they pontificate butchers and dairies. I went up to the first floor, with a privileged view of the heart of the market, and let myself watch the life happen in Tashkent. A delight!
Around the closed market, there were hundreds of stalls (or thousands?) Where literally everything was sold. And a small section with street restaurants, in the open air, where I had the opportunity to taste very cheap Uzbek food.
In summary, regardless of its priority interests, the Chorsu Market has same to be on your list with what to visit in Tashkent.
Timur and Independence Squares
Timur Square and Independence Square are two of the most emblematic places in Tashkent. It is there that are some of the most important monuments and the most important political and cultural buildings. To walk among them is worth not only by the symbolism, but also by the tour itself, surrounded by green spaces, water fountains and many young people.
Photo house of Tashkent
Sometimes travel to the wind it is very comforting; but there is always the risk of not seeing something fundamental for lack of knowledge. That's what happened to me with the so-called Tashkent Photography House, which is very interesting for people who enjoy photography.
It is a gallery-museum that organizes traveling exhibitions throughout the year, with works by photographers from all over the world, including Uzbeks. There are also photography competitions, conferences, workshops and many educational activities linked to photography.
When I learned of his existence, I immediately decided it was one of the things to visit in Tashkent. But it was too late. I was preparing to do so when I was informed that it was a holiday. I called and nobody answered; I went to the door and it was closed. The next day he would leave Tashkent; later to return to the capital of Uzbekistan, but on a Monday, the day the museum gallery is closed.
To add to my frustration-supreme irony-the previous day had passed the door of the building without suspecting what it was about. Actually, I did not even notice. Conclusion, you should have planned a bit better what to do in Tashkent. The trick is not to make the same mistake.
If there is a façade in Tashkent that represents the past associated with the former Soviet Union, this is surely the Hotel Uzbekistan. The building is in full Timur square, easily integrable into any walk through the heart of the Uzbek capital. The hotel gains special beauty (if you can say so!) In the late afternoon.
I have not visited the interior of the Hotel Uzbekistan, but whoever wishes can stay there hosted (the hotel is still running). Do not do it for the quality of the premises, but for the historical symbolism of the building; otherwise you will be disillusioned.
Tashkent Tube Stations
Until recently restricted to photography, some of Tashkent's metro stations are rudely beautiful, like photogenic remnants of Soviet times. I confess that I went in and out of the stations too many times to appreciate them, taking longer than necessary to reach places like the Chorsu Market and getting some of them frustrated by the lack of interest (not Moscow or St Petersburg); but I still did not regret it.
One of the ones that I liked more was the Alisher Navoi station, with well-defined Soviet features. It is on the so-called Uzbekistan Line (the blue Tashkent metro line). To visit.
Although Tashkent did not have the vibrant coffee culture of Almaty, there are a handful of very interesting cafes in the Uzbek capital. Among those I had the chance to meet, I recommend BookCafe without reservation.
It is very close to the House of Photography in Tashkent, so it is a good place to rest after seeing the photography exhibits. BookCafe is attended mainly by young people, with students always doing group work, receiving explanations or studying. Not to nonsense, the interior is decorated with shelves laden with books hence the name BookCafe.
He had planned to visit the complex of Hazrati Imam, not so much by the mosques in itself, but by a historical curiosity probably false.
Legend has it that there is the oldest Koran in the world. This is an age-old edition of the Koran (dated to the 8th century), written in an old version of Arabic. Only a third of the book has survived to this day - and that is what is currently held in Hazrati Imam.
It is true, however, to say that it is very difficult to claim that it is the world's oldest Koran. In any case, having time and will, do not miss visiting Hazrati Imam and getting to know this ancient Koran.
For those who have the opportunity to leave Tashkent and travel to cities like Samarkand, Bukhara or Khiva, visiting the Madrassa Ko'kaldosh may be, so to speak, expendable. In any case, if your script contemplates a couple of days in Tashkent, it does not lose anything in including it in the plan.
Map: Things to Do in Tashkent
If you want to support the enterprising efforts of a young Uzbek and have a good coffee, pass on the Red Bus Coffee. It is a van with material to take good expresses, usually parked next to one of the exits of the metro station Oybek (see map)
There are numerous European airlines flying to Tashkent. I flew with Turkish Airlines and, as always, the quality / price ratio is practically unbeatable (although Turkish is admittedly more expensive than a few years ago).
From the airport to the hotel, it is best to take a taxi as long as you buy a local calling card. With it, you can use the Yandex app to call taxis (cheap and safe). Also consider using the Revolut card to save on bank charges.
Transportation in Tashkent
Tashkent is a large and sprawling city so, in addition to the metro, sometimes you have to use the taxis. In this regard, and to avoid discomfort, I recommend using the Yandex app (works like Uber). Races are inexpensive and by rule free of safety issues. It is also one of the reasons why acquiring a local SIM card is a good idea.
Where to stay
I stayed in hostel called Sunrise Caravan Stay - Boutique Guesthouse which I highly recommend. It has a fantastic atmosphere, is very clean and the staff is helpfull and friendly. Within the same register, there is also the Amir Khan Hostel and Homestay B & B Hostel, where I also considered staying.
Better yet will be the Hotel Nice or the magnificent Sightseeing (three stars); but if I can stretch the budget a bit, I highly recommend the excellent Ichan Qal'a Premium Class Hotel e Hyatt Regency Tashkent (one of the most luxurious in the city). If you prefer, there are also well-appointed studios Art Studio 2. For other options see the text where to stay in Tashkent; or search all hotels using the link below.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.