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Overview

At first glance Tashkent is hard to get to grips with. It's a big city, the largest in Central Asia, and the giant boulevards, concrete apartment blocks and faceless government ministries tower on an inhuman scale. The city was rebuilt as a Soviet showcase after a devastating 1966 earthquake but these reconstructions have since been refashioned into fascinating but equally impersonal monuments to Uzbekistan independence. The city may lack the architectural splendor of neighboring Samarkand or Bukhara but pockets of old Tashkent and traditional Uzbek life still remain in the old town's winding mud-brick alleyways. The Chorsu Bazaar, ...

At first glance Tashkent is hard to get to grips with. It's a big city, the largest in Central Asia, and the giant boulevards, concrete apartment blocks and faceless government ministries tower on an inhuman scale. The city was rebuilt as a Soviet showcase after a devastating 1966 earthquake but these reconstructions have since been refashioned into fascinating but equally impersonal monuments to Uzbekistan independence. The city may lack the architectural splendor of neighboring Samarkand or Bukhara but pockets of old Tashkent and traditional Uzbek life still remain in the old town's winding mud-brick alleyways. The Chorsu Bazaar, Kukeldash Madrassah and nearby Telyashayakh (Khast Imam) Mosque, home to the world's oldest Koran, are pure old-school Central Asia. If your interests are more up-tempo, Tashkent has plenty of good restaurants, as well as Central Asia's raciest nightclubs. The impressive Russian-built metro is a sight in itself and a mercifully cool relief from the scorching heat in summer. This is also the place to watch out for Uzbekistan's over-eager militsia (police), a clear sign of who's really in control in Uzbekistan.

Bradley Mayhew
About the Expert

Bradley Mayhew is the author of more than 25 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, including Central Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Jordan, and is coauthor of the Odyssey guide to Uzbekistan.

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Bradley Mayhew for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Central Asia, border of Kazakstan which is below Russia
  • Language: Uzbek, Russian, English, Persian
  • Currency: Som
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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