On the Great Silk Road from China to Europe lies Tashkent, Uzbekistan's capital. Thanks to its location in Central Asia, the city was originally influenced by the Sogdians and Turkics. Then, Genghis Khan destroyed it in 1219, after which the city was rebuilt. The Russian Empire took hold in 1865, leading to significant growth and changes before it was devastated by an earthquake in 1966. Today, Tashkent is a multi-ethnic place with a mix of traditional buildings such as mosques alongside modern and typically Soviet architecture. As one of the country's most 'happening' places, the city also retains something of a laid-back, traditional feel. The streets still see farmers taking their produce to the Chorsu Bazaar: a fascinating flea and street market. Visitors can also see some of the country's best museums including the Uzbekistan State Museum of Applied Art, the Amir Timur Museum and a Railway Museum. The great outdoors includes the beautiful botanical gardens and getting around isn't hard, thanks to a decent metro service featuring some beautifully ornate stations. Annual events include two prominent arts events, Bazaar Art and Art Week Style as well as a popular beer festival.
Things to Do
Tashkent has a lot to offer visitors with interesting museums, open spaces and street markets to add excitement to every visit.
Parks and gardens
The Botanical Gardens add a touch of colour to the city with many species of trees, flowers, shrubs, vines and plants from across the world. It's Central Asia's largest and oldest botanical gardens. There are guided tours and it opens daily apart from on Mondays.
The city is home to several superb museums. For example, the Applied Arts Museum features national costumes, textiles, pottery and embroidery as well as wood carvings, porcelain and jewellery to name but a few.
Chorsu Bazaar in the Old Town offers a real sample of Uzbek life. Brimming with activity and colour, there's fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and spices as well as clothing and home sections. Bargaining is welcome (well...probably necessary!).
Calendar of Events
Tashkent hosts many typical Uzbek festivals, which are bright and theatrical events celebrating history, local food, culture and national holidays. Their traditions are lovingly passed from one generation to the next.
Bazar Art. The Bazar Art Exhibition-Fair is held in the spring and autumn and features traditional souvenirs and Uzbek arts by young and dynamic artisans from all over the country who come to present their handmade arts and crafts.
An annual beer festival. The annual beer festival provides plenty of drinking... and fun! Carlsberg Uzbekistan brewery promotes this event in honour of its brand. The festival includes music, DJs food and, of course, beer!
Art Week Style. Art Week Style is held at the end of every September/early October and is an eclectic journey into the world of art, theatre, film, fashion and music. Attracting art lovers from the world over, it is a place for creative expression and cultural exchange.