If Samarkand is known as "Edem of the East", Bukhara as "Noble city", Tashkent today aspires to rank one of the most beautiful cities in Asia.
Tashkent, the capital of a young independent state, is the largest city in the region. It is political, business, scientific and cultural center of Uzbekistan.
Tashkent is more than 2 000 years old. Its name has been changed many times during the centuries-old history: Chach, Shash, Binkent… All of these names could be transformed to Turkish word "Tash" (stone) that gave a name to the city Tashkent (means "stone city").
Actually city was appeared on the place having similar name and located on the mountain crossroads playing an important role in trade between East and West. That time Tashkent was a citadel that has repulsed attacks of nomad tribes. But at all times, Tashkent has been and remains to be an important international transport center.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that present-day Tashkent was the site of an ancient town which has continued to exist as a developed commercial and cultural center of the East. Eastern and western traditions and custom's have merged into a single whole. Unfortunately, many of historical monuments have been destroyed after the revolution of 1917. The unique historical monuments including Kukeldosh and Barak-Khana Madrassahs erected in 16th century have been preserved to this day. In 1966, a destructive earthquake shook Tashkent and raised half of the city into ruins. In a year Tashkent actually revived and became even more beautiful.
Today Tashkent is famous as one of the world science and culture center. The Navoi Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is truly unique in its architecture and interior design. Theatrical Square with a splendid fountain adjoining the theatre is a favorite place of recreation for Tashkenters and guests of the capital.
There are 20 museums in Tashkent including the Uzbek Museum of Fine Arts one of the largest in Central Asia. Collection of the museum would do honour to any capital city. The Tashkent Metro faced with marble, granite and ceramic tiles leaves an amazing impression on the guests of the Republic. Decorated in the eastern style, it is deservingly considered one of the most beautiful and spacious Metro networks in the world.
For the years of independence, the capital of the Uzbek state is completely changed: many beautiful fountains are constructed to decorate squares and parks of the city, new constructed buildings decorated in national style look very impressive, international airports and railway stations have been reconstructed to provide passengers with top service on the ground and in the sky as well.
Must see places in Tashkent
Mustaqillik (Independence) Square
This is the main square of Uzbekistan, symbol of its independence. The buildings of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Senate are located here. The square entrance is decorated by the Ark with the flushing the sky stoke birds on top. The road under the Ark leads to the square where the Monument of Independence and Humanism consisting of two monuments — the Independence and Happy Mother — is located.
The Independence Monument (1991)
Signifies the sovereignty of Uzbekistan and represents the gold colour globe with the state outlines. But the engraved territory of Uzbekistan does not show its real geographical location, it just symbolizes the aspiration of the young state for joining the world community and recognition by many world countries as well.
Monument of Happy Mother (1996)
Symbolizes the Motherland, a child – symbolizes Future. The monument looks plain but very majestic.
Amir Temur Monument
The monument of Amir Temur is an important landmark in Tashkent. It is located just in the center of the capital city, under the green-leaved branches of Amir Temur Square. Amir Temur is sitting on his horse, clad in battle garments, his steed in his left hand, his right hand stretched over the people meeting him, proudly wearing a crown as if only just returning from a victorious battle — announcing the coming of peace and tranquility.
The Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
The theatre was constructed in 1947. Architect is Schusev A.V. One year later it was given the name of Alisher Navoi. The Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre is truly unique in its architecture and interior design. The interior is beautifully decorated with the guanch and marble carving. Theatrical Square with a splendid fountain adjoining the Theatre is a favourable place of recreation for residents and guests of the capital.
The Tashkent TV Tower
It was built and put into operation in 1985. The Tashkent TV Tower (The Tashkent Television Broadcasting Center) is the highest construction in Central Asia. Currently the Tashkent TV Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers which includes more than 200 towers! It is the ninth tallest tower in the world and the second in CIS after the Ostankino Tower in Moscow. The Tashkent TV Tower is 375 meters. The weight of its metal framework is 6.000 tons. The weight with equipment is 16.000 tons. The depth of the tower base is 11 meters. At the height of 110 meters there is a restaurant. In the day time one of the restaurant halls smoothly goes round. Through the glass Tashkent is plain to see.
The Japanese Garden in Tashkent
The Japanese garden is a real "piece of Japan" created by Japanese artists who have synergized the beauty of an authentic Japanese garden with its surroundings. The Japanese garden is a garden of contemplation. The area around the Uzexpocentre is the ideal place for such a garden with its old trees that have been preserved for centuries – Japanese believe that trees have a soul. The bank of the old lake has been restored and Sakura trees, the sacred tree of Japan, blossoms here in spring. A Japanese-style pier has been built on the lake from which visitors can take short boat trips. Stones are the main element of a Japanese garden. They keep the beauty of bygone eras and transmit the feeling of the eternity of time. A teahouse is located in the centre of the garden, built in the simple style of all Japanese teahouses. The small Japanese garden is an elegant combination of the bounteous beauty Nature has to offer.
Located in Zenghi-Ata settlement located close to Tashkent. The ensemble was built on the burial place of Ay-Hoja sheikh nicknamed Zenghi-Ata (means "black") who lived in 12th-13th centuries. By the legend, the ensemble was initiated by Timur. The ensemble consists of three territories including big garden; complex of buildings of 14th – 19th centuries including mosque, medreassah, minaret; and mausoleum Ambar-bibi.
The yellow colour burnt bricks were used for construction of the museum in honour of Khavendi Tahur sheikh died in 1355. It is assumed that it was constructed in the first part of the 19th century during the reign of the Kokand khans.
The mausoleum built in the 14th century over the grave of respected clergyman, popular scientist and connoisseur of the Koran and khadises – Khazreti Imam (full name is Abu-Bakr Mukhammad Kaffal-Shash) is a part of the Khazret Imam Ensemble. According to the historical information, he was buried in the place, developed later into Sebzar - one of the fourth Tashkent's regions. His grave was a sacred place. That is why the surrounding area in Sibzar part of the old city received a name of Khazret Imam. The monument is of great historical and artistic value.
The Zenghi-Ata Mosque built by the Zenghi-Ata in 1870, represents the outstretched building with wooden aiwan in front. In 1914-15 the mosque was reconstructed partly: the aiwan and the southern façade were renewed and the roofing over the galleries was arranged. The Namazgoh Mosque was used to hold a prayer services.
Juma Mosque of Khoja Ahror Vali
This is the third largest cathedral mosque in Uzbekistan surpassed only by two structures of this kind – the Bibi-Khanim Mosque in Samarkand and the Kalyan Mosque in Bukhara. The Juma Mosque forms the basis of the Registan Ensemble located in the area of Chorsu Square. Construction of the mosque is delivered to the 15-18th and the end of the 19th centuries. The main Juma Mosque of Tashkent has been completely rebuilt, and now not one but three domes crown the old city hall.
Located just opposite the Barak-khana Medressah, it was constructed by the Kokand khan Mirza Akhmad Kushbegi. Winter and summer housings for praying including the low minarets, household premises and library are located inside the mosque's inner yard. The famous Koran of Osman dated by the 7th century is keeping inside the library's special safe. The mosque is decorated with a mikhrab niche, minbar and the window openings as well. According to the legend, the gold hair of the prophet Muhammad is keeping here.
In recent times, it was a country territory where the people gathered together on great religious feasts. Currently the Imam Al Bukhari Islamic Institute is accommodated here. Building of the mosque represents the domed galleries with the aiwan constructed of the burnt bricks. The interiors do not have any decorations. In our times, the monument underwent some changes in decoration.
It is located to the east from the Chorsu bazaar, among the adobe buildings of the old city. Construction of medressah was completed in 1532. A few burial places there were found inside the inner yard surrounded with one-storeyed khujras but Barak-khan was not among them: according to the information he dies in 1556 and was buried in Samarkand. The Barak-khan Medressah has a portal-domed form with the four angular premises and the cruciformed hall. On the portal there is a board informing that the Residence of the Mufti of Theological Administration of Uzbekistan's Muslims is located here inside the mosque.
Medressah Kukeldosh — one of Central Asian largest and still preserved medressahs dated by the 16th century is stately located on the highland close to the Chorsu Square. The building was constructed of the burnt bricks (1551—1575) by the Tashkent khans' vizir nicknamed Kukeldosh (means "The khan's foster brother"). Medressah has a traditional composition: a vast inner yard built up with hujras; darskhona and mosque are located in the corners. At the end of the 18th century the mosque was used as a caravan-saray, in 1860 it serviced as a fortress for the Kokand khans. The monument has been restored for future generations.
The Abdulkasim Medressah
This monument was erected to the great thinker of past times — Abdulkasim-khan. The medressah is located in the south part of old Tashkent, not far from the Beshagach former gates, reminding about the grandeur and beauty of the Tashkent ancient architecture. According to the archaeological researches, historical documents and legends "the first stone" of the Abdulkasim Medressah was laid at the beginning of the 19th century. In ethnographical materials of 1908, this monument was described by N.Ostroumov as one of the places of honor popular far beyond Tashkent.
Khavendi Takhur Sheikh Mausoleum
It was founded at the 14th—15th centuries and its above-ground part was constructed between the 18th and 19th centuries. The preserved building was constructed on the old foundation keeping the basic architectural forms. Ziaratkhona and gur-khona are accommodated in the mausoleum. Light-yellow color bricks were used for construction of the mausoleum. No any decoration was used here.
The most ancient monument preserved in the territory of Tashkent. There is no any direct information about the date of its construction. The pyramidal dome of this monument dates to the 15th century differs the mausoleum from the other buildings in the complex and remaind the mazars in the Kazakh steppes. This is a fact that the mausoleum contains the tomb of famous Kazakh political Tole-biy nicknamed Kaldyrgach (means "Swallow"). Many people use to visit this sacred place.
The Yunus-khan Mausoleum
One of the ancient and few monuments of Temurids epoch located in Tashkent. It was constructed after the death of the Tashkent ruler Yunus-khan – the descendant of Ghingiz-khan (1415—1487). The Mausoleum of Yunus-khan — the poet and writer, the grandfather of great Babur, was built at the end of the 15th century. The building was restored many times and much changed in the course of time. There is no any decoration here except panjara used in the main fracade.
Mausoleum of Abubakr Mukhammad Kaffal Shashi
Abubakr Mukhammad Kaffal Shashi was one of the first Muslim Imams, the famous Muslim scientist, connoisseur of the Koran, the Moslem low and lexicology as well. He died in 976/77. The present mausoleum of rectangular form is crowned with a cupola. The wooden lattices — panjara are put in the window openings. The monument is of great historical and art value.
Mausoleum of Zainuddin-bobo Sheikh
Zainuddin-bobo Sheikh is a son of the founder of Suffist order Sukhravardiya — Zia addin Jakhim Sukhravardi sheikh. He was sent to these places by his father for spreading ideas Zainuddin-bobo sheikh was buried in Arifon country village located behind Kukcha gate. The monument belongs to khanaka-type mausoleums. The hall is covered with a double sphere-conical cupola. Quite near to mausoleum there is a chillyakhona (the underground monastic cell) constructed in the 12th—3th centuries.
The Roman-Catholic Church (1902)
It stands out against the metropolitan background of the city, both with its scope and the architecture. A Catholic Cathedral, commonly called "The Polish Church" not only stuck out because of its size, but also for its builders and construction materials – very unusual for this region. The excessive sculptural ornamentation was particularly unusual. The Cathedral, even as an unfinished construction, impressed onlookers. It was only after independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan that many believers returned to their traditional religion. This Polish sanctuary only then received true religion. The beautiful stained-glass windows are similar to those of the Krakow Castle by the popular windows depict local themes. The renovated church is now the new spiritual centre for people from Tashkent and guests of the Republic with the mass read in three languages: English, Russian and Korean. People can also enjoy wonderful organ concerts on the weekends.