Tashkent

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Tashkent (Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент; Russian: Ташкент) is the capital city of Uzbekistan.

Understand[edit]

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 remains a Soviet-era 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 centre. Further out, the infrastructure is not so good.

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 (many historical buildings and sites are bulldozed in process). To the visitor, the new city looks very impressive, although many of the local residents have yet to see any improvement in their residential areas.

Tashkent is waiting for a boom. The infrastructure, hotels, and shops are there but the influx of people and business has failed to materialise. This is caused in part by a combination of government policy and bad publicity.

Tashkent has a population of 2.3 million people (2012).

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 6 8 14 22 27 33 36 34 29 21 14 9
Nightly lows (°C) -3 -2 4 10 14 18 19 17 12 7 3 -1
Precipitation (mm) 55 47 72 64 32 7 4 2 5 34 45 53
Daylight (hrs/day) 9 10 11 13 14 15 15 14 13 11 10 9

Tashkent has a typical continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The best seasons for travel to Tashkent are Apr-May and Sep-Oct.

Talk[edit]

Although Uzbek is now the official language, Russian is the native language for most Tashkent dwellers, although most also speak Uzbek. Most businesses use Russian in their signs, menus, and other printed material. Only government institutions use Uzbek as the first language, and even then, many government forms and reports are in Russian, rather than Uzbek. Currently, Uzbek uses the Latin alphabet rather than the Cyrillic that was used during the Soviet Union. This is a source of some confusion for many Uzbeks, especially those of the older generation. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union and Uzbekistan declared independence in 1991, the written Uzbek language was converted back into Latin characters. Many older Uzbeks have difficulty reading the Latin characters. Uzbek is a Turkic-based language, and while Uzbeks and Turks cannot completely communicate directly, the better educated on both sides can usually find some common understanding.

Many of the signs in Tashkent are in Cyrillic. A significant number of Russian words are similar to their English counterparts. Learning the Cyrillic alphabet, not as difficult as one might think, will help a traveller to read signs and in restaurants. It is very useful for the casual visitor to Tashkent to learn a few basic Russian or Uzbek words and phrases. If you need to speak English, young people are your best bet, and even then there is no guarantee that they will speak more than basic English.

The name Tashkent is usually attributed to the Turkish words "tash" ("stone") and the Persian word "kent" ("city"), meaning "city of stones". Another opinion refers to the Sogdian word "tschatsch", meaning "place on a hill".

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Airlines include:

The airport has two terminals, domestic (Terminal 3) and international (Terminal 2) on opposite sides of the airfield. The only way to get from one to the other is by road, a 10-minute taxi ride.

Before passing through customs, you will need to fill out 2 copies of the customs declaration. These forms are often handed out on the flight or can be found on the stands in the baggage claim area. The customs officers will keep one copy and stamp the other. You will need this form when you leave the country and may have problem in taking out money without it. Make sure to declare all money and valuables (cameras, PCs etc.). You may not be able to leave with more money or valuable items than you arrive with. The Uzbek government have strict rules on entering or leaving with money. Don't be intimidated when you see a crowd running to a passport control officer. They are just trying to get a better spot in a huge waiting line.

The departure area is on the upper floor. The access road has been closed, so you have to walk around the left side of the arrivals level and up some stairs or up the road. Allow plenty of time when leaving the country via Tashkent airport. Check-in, customs, and passport control can be very time consuming, especially if there are large numbers of passengers. Make sure and have the customs form you were given when you entered the country.

A short and inexpensive (USD2–3) taxi journey is the easiest way to get to the centre. One should bear in mind, however, that upon exiting the international terminal, a large number of men will be crowded at the (sole) exit door offering "taxi" services. For the most part, these are not "official" taxis. "Taxi" drivers will attempt to charge whatever they believe the market will bear. For those without Russian or Uzbek language skills it is best to arrange to have someone meet you at the airport. Fair fares are usually only obtainable by those who understand the system and speak at least some Russian or Uzbek. It is better to walk 50m from the exit towards the taxi stand where many taxis are waiting on the road and negotiate. Generally prevailing fare is minimum USD2-3 for 5km (20 cents per each additional km). Always negotiate. Taxi drivers will rarely accept small bills (dollars, euros, or pounds), and cannot be counted upon to give change (in any currency).

By train[edit]

  •    Railway Station1 Turkestany St Information, 005; tickets, +998 29 97627.

Domestic[edit]

  • Train 2 leaves Tashkent on M, Tu, F, Sa, and Su at 07:00 and arrives at Samarkand at 10:50. Train 1 leaves Samarkand at 17:00, arriving in Tashkent at 20:50. Train 50 leaves Tashkent every day at 19:00, arriving at Samarkand at 23:55. Train 49 leaves Samarkand daily at 07:00, arriving in Tashkent at 10:55 next morning.
  • Train 662 leaves Tashkent daily at 20:00 and arrives at Bukhara at 08:00 next morning. Train 661 leaves Bukhara daily at 18:45, arriving in Tashkent at 07:00 next morning.
  • Train 54 leaves Tashkent on W and Sa at 15:40, arriving at Urgench at 11:35 next day, On Tu and Sa Train 53 leaves Urgench at 14:05, arriving in [[Tashkentv at 09:40 next morning.
  • Train 280 leaves Tashkent on all even-numbered days at 17:25, arriving at Termez at 13:00 next day, On all even days Train 279 leaves Termez at 14:30, arriving in Tashkent at 09:00 next day.

International[edit]

Tashkent is a key stopping point for rail services from Central Asia. It is possible to travel from or to Dushanbe in Tajikistan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Almaty in Kazakhstan, and Moscow. It is possible to travel to China through Almaty and to Iran. Ticket prices are cheap by Western standards, but will need to be paid for in cash, preferably in USD. There are many warnings about thefts of personal belongings on the trains.

  • Train 6 leaves Moscow on W, F, and M at 23:16, arriving at Tashkent on Sa, Tu, and Th at 21:00
  • Train 296 leaves Kharkov on Su at 11:52, arriving at Tashkent on W at 21:20
  • Train 486 leaves Chelyabinsk on Su at 23:50, arriving at Tashkent on W at 00:45.

All trains (both domestic and international) leave now from the Northern Railway Station (Severny Vokzal), Tukestan kochasi, Metro station "Toshkent". Make sure that you buy ticket in advance or arrive 1 hour before train departure, as the queue for ticket office is often long and chaotic with people jumping the queue.

By car[edit]

There are road routes from surrounding countries but the borders may not be open and there have been security problems. The border from Afghanistan is sometimes closed or not open to Uzbek nationals. You have to walk at least 4km to cross the border on foot from the Uzbek checkpoint to the Afghan checkpoint.

The Cherniaevka crossing from Kazakhstan near Saryagash. Allow 1-2 hours to get through, especially from the Uzbek side. OK, but long, long lines. Take the left line at Uzbek customs. They want you to declare any cellphones as communications devices.

From Kyrgyzstan, the Dostlik post 30km from Andijan is open from 09:00-18:00. From Tajikistan Oiybek Post, 80km from Tashkent, is open for foreigners from 09:00-18:00. Tursanzade Post, 60km from Dushanbe Tajikistan, is open for foreigners and locals 180km from Termez. Chorzhu Post on the border of Turkmenistan, 30km from Bukhara, is also open to foreigners and locals.

Distances from Tashkent by road:

By taxi[edit]

  • Taxis to Samarkand leave from "Avtovokzal" in the Metro station "Sobir Raximov".
  • Taxis to Fergana Valley leave from the Northern Station and Kuyluk Bazar.
  • Shared taxis to Andijan (5 hr) cost 8 USD.

By bus[edit]

To travel by bus to Uzbekistan a traveller has to take a bus to the border post, then cross the border on foot, and then take another bus to the final destination. Buses do not regularly operate internationally. But some private operators run bus services to many CIS cities on announced dates. It is difficult to get information and sometimes dates can change without warning.

Buses to other cities leave from "Avtovokzal" in the Metro station "Sobir Raximov". Buses usually are very full and advance purchase of tickets is recommended. Tickets are sold to foreigners at Movarunahr Kochasi 51, daily from 08:00-17:00. Buses to Bokhara (11 hr) cost USD8, to Samarkand (6 hr) USD5, and to Urgench/Khiva (20 hr) USD12 (2009).

A marshrutka is a small bus or van which follows a fixed route and stops on demand to take on or drop off passengers. As of 2009, marshrutkas to Andijan (6 hr) cost USD5, to Bokhara (8 hr) USD6, to Ferghana (6 hr) USD4, to Kokand (3 hr) USD3, to Samarkand (4 hr) USD4, and to Termez (10 hr) USD8 USD. Timetable

Get around[edit]

By metro[edit]

The city has a good public transport system which is cheap. The metro/underground system is typical of the old Soviet-style with large and impressive stations and is quite modern. Stations are richly themed. For example, Kosmonavtlar is a lavish monument to Uzbekistan's contribution to the Soviet space programme.

There are also modern buses and trams, many of which were renovated in 2008. Tickets (which on the metro are small blue coin size tokens) cost UZS700 for any single journey. It is not permitted to take photographs in the metro stations. Police will usually be present on all platforms. Do not risk taking photos while the policeman is not watching because they have security cameras everywhere and policeman will approach you instantly and check your documents. In all cases do have documents while you are taking the metro (or anywhere in the city), for you can be checked any time.

Tashkent Metro has three lines:

  • Chilonzor (Red line) from Janubiy to Turkistan.
  • Uzbekistan (Blue line) from Beruniy to Chkalov.
  • Yunus-Obod (Green line) from Sabir Rakhimov to Buyuk Ipak Yuli. Trains leave every 2 minutes.

By car[edit]

Taxis[edit]

Taxis can be cheap after some negotiation; however some of the vehicles are very old. While there are official, authorized taxis (with the appropriate sign on the roof of the car), in reality almost any driver in Tashkent can double as a taxi driver. The local custom is to simply stand by the side of the road with your arm extended downward and slightly away from the body. A driver will pull over and then you will state your destination and negotiate the fare in advance. At least some Russian or Uzbek language skills are needed to accomplish this without difficulty. It is usually safe to use this procedure, although virtually every foreign embassy recommends against it. Directions are rarely given here using an address. Most often, a landmark is used, such as "near Hotel Russia". Moreover, many streets and hotels have been renamed in the past few years and often drivers will not recognize the current name of the street or hotel, still knowing them by their old names. Asking to be taken to the Grand Mir Hotel, for instance, will often result in a blank look. Tell the driver you want to go to the Gastinitsa Rossiya (Hotel Russia), however, and they will know exactly where you want to go. For those who speak neither Russian nor Uzbek, it is helpful to have someone draw a rudimentary map or write out directions in Russian. Few drivers will know English.

Do not expect Western-style taxi services. Taxi drivers will often smoke while you are in the car and asking them not to will most often result in nothing more than a look of disapproval. You may be paying, but you are in their car. There are many taxi services operating in the city with fixed rates and a person can order the taxi from their hotel room. There are some web sites offering complete lists of taxi services and taxi charges

Taxis within the city can be reserved by calling Taxi Express, Tel 1399999 or 16360272.

Car rental[edit]

None of the major international car hire companies operate in Tashkent. Where car hire is available, it will include a driver. Generally daily car rental charges are from USD25-35. It all depends upon your negotiating skills. Car rentals are offered by taxi companies. They are expensive but can be more reliable.

See[edit]

  •    Abdulkasim Madrassa (South part of the old city). This madrassa was erected in honour of the great thinker Abdulkhasim Khan at the beginning of the 19th century.
  • Kaldyrgach-bly Mausoleum. This mausoleum is the most ancient monument in Tashkent. The dome in the form of a pyramid dates from the 15th century and is said to remind the mazars in the Kazakh steppes. The mausoleum contains the tomb of a famous Kazakh political, Tole-bly, who had the nickname Kaldyrgach ("swallow").
  • Khavendi Takhur Sheikh Mausoleum. The mausoleum was founded in the 14th century. The present buildings were erected on the old foundations in the 18th and 19th centuries. The mausoleum is constructed with light yellow bricks and has no decoration in the interior.
  • Mausoleum of Abubakr Muhammad Kaffal Shashi. It is the mausoleum of one of the first Imams who died c.976. 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 type. The hall is covered with a double dome. Nearby is a chillyakhona (subterranean monastic cell) dating to the 12th-13th centuries.
  • 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 century and restored several times. It has no decoration except 'panjara' on the main façade.

Old Town[edit]

The "Old Town" has retained much of its charm. Here you will find low adobe houses with shady courtyards, narrow winding streets and many ancient mosques and madrassas.

  • Architectural Complex Zengi-Ata (In the Zengi-Ata settlement near Tashkent). Burial place of sheikh Aj-Hodzha, nicknamed Zengi-Ata, which means "black", who lived from the end of 12th to the first half of 13th century.
  • Barrak-Khan Madrassa (E of Chorsu Market, in the old city). The madrassa was completed in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Barak Khan died in 1556 and is buried in Samarkand.
  • Ensemble Khazret Imam (2km N 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 (PBUH).
  • Kukeldash MadrassaNawai 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 Madrassa is one of the largest and best-preserved Quran schools in Central Asia. The madrassa has a traditional composition with a large inner yard with hujras (pupils' cells) and darshakona and mosque in the corners. UZS2,000.
  • Moyie Mubarek Library MuseumZarqaynar 114 +998 26 00302. Daily,09:00-16:00. Preserving the world's oldest Quran from the 7th century.
  • 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.

Museums[edit]

  • Amur Timur MuseumAmur Timur 1 +998 13 36228. Tu-Su, 10:00-17:00, closed M. Rather kitschy murals depicting Timur. UZS3,000.
  • Art Gallery of UzbekistanBuyuk Turon 2. Tu-Sa, 11:00-17:00; closed Su-M. Exhibitions of contemporary Uzbek artists in a modern museum building. UZS600 (2012).
  • Fine Arts Museum of UsbekistanMovarounahr 16 +998 23 67436. M 10:00-14:00, W-Su 10:00-17:00, closed Tu. Decent collection of Russian and European art combined with regional specialties, such as Russian paintings depicting Uzbek people and their lifestyle, local antiquities, and decorations salvaged from ancient temples. Some parts of this museum may require an extra ticket. UZS10,000; locals, UZS3,000 (2012).
  • History MuseumSharaf Rashidova 30 +998 23 91779. Tu-Su, 10:00-17:00, closed M. Artefacts from Zoroastrian and Buddhist times. Exhibits related to the conquest of the khanates of Central Asia by the Russians, and to the first president of the independent Uzbek Republic, Islam Karimov. UZS6,000; locals, UZS1,500 (2012).
  • Museum of Applied ArtsRakatboshi 15 +998 25 33943. Daily, 09:00-18:00. In a house built by a Russian diplomat in the 19th century. With carved and painted plaster and carved wood, this museum gives an overview of old architectural details from Bukhara and Samarkand, ceramics and textiles, gift shop. UZS1,200.
  • Navoy Literary MuseumNavoi 69 +998 24 41268. M-F, 10:00-17:00; Sa, 10:00-13:00; closed Su. Memories of the poet Alisher Navoi, calligraphy from Persia, miniatures from the 15th and 16th centuries. UZS3,000.

Performing arts[edit]

  • Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theater (Ballet and opera), Ataturk Kochasi 28 +998 23 39081. Ticket counter at the main entrance open on performance days from 10:00-19:00. Performances, M-F 18:00, Sa-Su, 17:00. The theatre was built in neoclassical style from the plans of Alexey Shchusev, the architect of Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow. The theater has special significance for Japanese nationals because it was built by Japanese prisoners of war during the WWII. A plate acknowledging their contributions is part of the building. UZS1,500.
  • Ilkhom TheatrePakhator 5 +998 24 22241. Ticket counter, 11:00-18:00. Performances, Tu-Sa 18:30. Progressive theatre. Performances in Russian, sometimes with English subtitles. UZS2,500-5,000.

Other[edit]

  •    Alisher Navoiy Park (Exit Milly Bog Station on the Chilonzor line of the Metro). This large park is popular on the weekends where many weddings are held. A fairground and man-made lake are also well frequented by locals.
  •    Amir Timur Monument & Park (In the centre). Amir Temur in armour sits on his horse, holding the reins with his left hand and greeting the people with his right hand. A bust of Karl Marx previously occupied the position during Soviet times.
  • Boghi Eram Recreation Park. Fun fair for the young and not so young.
  • Brothers Tombs. A popular tourist attraction and on 9 May (Victory Day) thousands of people visit the place to pay homage to the victims of WWII. Statues of war heroes are on the south wall of the monument. A statue of famous Uzbek General Sobir Rokhim is also there.
  • Independence Monument. Erected in 1991 as a symbol of the sovereignty of the country. It shows a golden globe and the outlines of Uzbekistan.
  • Japanese Garden (Behind the Intercontinental Hotel). Popular during summers. Many couples go there for wedding photos.
Monument of Courage
  • Monument of Courage (Sharof Rashidov St, 300m from Independence Square). Built to acknowledge the courage of the people at the time of the Tashkent earthquake on 26 April 1966. The whole city was reduced to rubble and then modern Tashkent was built.
  • Mustaqilik (Independence Square). The political centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Governmental buildings and the senate are here.
  • Tashkentland (Near Aqua park, not far from Tashkent TV Tower). An amusement park. It has few nice rides, nothing special if you have been in big park, but a nice place to spend a free afternoon with friends. It is also worth a visit to a simple park in Tashkent. Although they have fewer attractions and are less exciting, they give off a more authentic feeling. UZS7,000.
  • Tashkent TV Tower. Viewing levels and restaurants with views of the city. The TV Tower, built in 1981, is the highest building in Central Asia. It is 375m high. It is the 10th highest building in the world and the 2nd highest buildings in GIS and has a revolving restaurant 110m above the ground.
  • Ugam Chatkal National Park.
  • War Memorial (Sharof Rashidov Ave, city centre). Eternal flame and park has the names of all the fallen victims of WWII.

Do[edit]

  • Aqua Park (Amir Temur Rd, near TV tower). The water park has several pools, one with a wave machine, water chutes, and high slides. Well worth a few hours in hot weather. Take your own towel and pool footwear (the paths can get very hot). There is a restaurant and bars inside. Adult, UZS7,000; child, UZS4,000 for 3 hours.

Buy[edit]

Market

The local currency is the Uzbek Sum. There are bank notes of UZS10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000.

Always exchange money at official exchange offices - there are many of them. It is illegal to change currency on the black market, although the exchange rate can be up to 30% higher than in banks. If you do decide to exchange on the black market (only USD or euros), around Chorsu Bazaar is the place. Some hotels will exchange money on the side at the better rate. US dollars can fetch a good rate but other acceptable currencies are Euros, British pounds, Russian rubles, or Japanese Yen. Notes must be in perfect condition with no marks or damage. As of 2012, the official exchange rate is about USD1 = UZS1,900 while the black market rate is about USD1 = UZS2,700. Few ATMs (known as Bankomat) work with foreign cards. US dollars are available inside banks using international credit cards with commission of about 2%. The dollars can then be changed to local currency. Newer shops and hotels accept credit cards and Maestro.

Bazaars[edit]

Local produce, such as fruit, nuts, vegetables can be very good, especially when they are in season. In the late summer, local melons appear on the streets and in the bazaars and are tasty and very cheap.

Most local residents do their primary shopping in bazaars. There are many of them in Tashkent, the largest of which is the Chorsu Bazaar. It is huge, colourful, teeming with people and offers just about anything that can be purchased locally, from produce to locally-made furniture and hardware. Hand-crafted items, including crockery, rugs, traditional dress, etc., are also available and far less expensive than in the shops frequented by tourists. Have a local go with you to the bazaars if possible. Foreigners are inevitably charged higher prices. Bargaining is common, but requires some language skills.

  • Central Market (Oloy Bozori, known to most locals as the Alayskee Bazaar) (Amir Timur St). Beautifully laid out displays of local produce, dried fruit, and nuts. Every Friday and Saturday there is a wholesale dried fruit bazaar. The least noisy and crowded bazaar in Tashkent. Only here can you can buy button and oyster mushrooms, Caspian sturgeon, and Far Eastern salmon.
  • Chorsu Bazaar (Eski Juva) (Heart of Old Town, next to Chorsu Sq). The most exiting oriental market in Tashkent. Eski Juva Bazaar is the biggest and oldest bazaar in Central Asia, operating on the same spot for over 2,000 years. The stalls of the bazaar stand under seven huge domes covered with colored glazed tiles. In the biggest domed building you will find all kinds of spices and cooking herbs: saffron, brown tree bark, red and black pepper, thyme and cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, as well as raisins, and dried apricots, almonds and pistachios, walnuts and peanuts. The bazaar is famous for peanuts boiled in sugar or honey, covered with sesame seeds.
Under the small domes are the workshops. Here craftsmen make and sell jewelry, painted cradles (beshik); gold embroidery; Uzbek chests with metal decorations; embroidered suzanes (thin tapestries), jiyak (lace for trimming the lower edges of women's trousers); quilted men's (chapan) and women's (yashmak) caftans; kurpacha quilts, and pichok knives in leather or brass sheaths, and national musical instruments. Potters offer lyagan dishes and kosa bowls with blue and turquoise painted patterns. You will also find carpets from Khiva, Samarkand, Bukhara, Afghanistan, and Turkey.
  • Farkhatsky Bazaar. Selling only melons, especially in Sep-Oct.
  • Hippodrome Bazaar. Daily except M. Best for (leather) clothing, shoes. Very crowded.
  • Parkentsky Bazaar. Best for beer, biscuits, cigarettes, coffee, cookies, cooking oil, soft drinks, liquor in large quantities.

Broadway[edit]

Saligokh St, known locally as "Broadway", has some street artists, etc. The street is easy to find from the Amir Temur Monument, just head away from the Uzbekistan Hotel. The 'mirstore' just off of Saligokh St has a modern supermarket, coffee bar and hugely overpriced fashion stores. This area, known locally as "Demir," also has Mir Burger, which has burgers, pizza and local dishes at reasonable prices. There is also a Georgian restaurant ("Tblisi") and a Chinese restaurant. There is a heavy police (militsiya) presence here and foreigners are not often, but occasionally asked for their documents. It is advisable to keep a photocopy of your passport and visa with you, but leave the originals in the hotel safe.

Recently, modern designer fashion and shops selling luxury goods from famous international brands have started to appear in Tashkent. Catering for the wealthy, these can be found in the Broadway area, on Amir Temur Street and Pushkin Street.

Handicrafts[edit]

  • Abdulkasym Madrassah (Metro Xalqar Dostligi). Lacquer paintings with oriental motifs.
  • Caravan Art GalleryAbdullah Quahor 22 (Near Istiqlol Palace next to Alisher Navoi Monument),  2556296, 1527555, e-mail: . High quality handicrafts.
  • Human HouseUsmon Nosir 30/9 (Near the Grand Mir Hotel),  +998 71-255-44-11, e-mail: . M-Sa, 10:00-19:00. Features handmade crafts and clothing of all sorts, ranging from full outfits to purses to beautiful hand-painted tea sets and ceramics at very reasonable prices. It is non-profit and is meant to help provide income to the crafts persons, who are often from remote poor villages.

Supermarkets[edit]

  • Kontinent (Near the Grand Mir Hotel at Usmon Nosir, Shota Rustavelli). Good supermarket with a wide range of stuff.
  • Turkuaz Hypermart (Formerly GUM), Akhunbabaev Sq (W end of Navoi, across the street from Hotel Chorsu). 09:00-20:30. Good for Western clothing and travel accessories.

Eat[edit]

Uzbek national dishes are similar to those of other Central Asian countries.

  • The national dish is plov (also called osh, plaf, "pulau" in Urdu). It is a mixture of rice, mild spices, yellow or orange carrots, mutton, meat, cumin (zeera), and, according to some recipes, occasionally other ingredients.
Plov Tashkent
  • Shashlik - meat (usually mutton, beef, or chicken) and chunks of fat roasted kebab-style over charcoal.
  • Samsa ("samosa" in Hindi or Urdu) are similar to South American empanadas - meat (beef or mutton) and onion encased in pastry and baked in wood-fired, clay ovens shaped like inverted beehives called tandoories.
  • The local bread, round and flat, is also baked in tandoories. It is called non (or in Russian, "lepioshki,", "naan" in Urdu) and is usually delicious. Nan from Samarkand is especially well-regarded by many in Samarkand, but each region takes pride in its own version of non, just as it does its version of osh.

The king of Uzbek food is plov, but Uzbeks feel very proud to make Sumalyak. To everybody sumalyak is a miracle sweet dish. It is made from pure wheat and with no addition of sweetener. The art is such that sumalyak becomes sweet and Uzbeks eat it on very special occasions. A visitor, if visiting Uzbekistan with a family, must make it a point to see the process of making sumalyak.

There are hundreds of small cafes in Tashkent (and other Uzbek cities and villages) offering these and other local dishes at inexpensive prices. A meal of salad, bread, tea, soup, and shashlik at around USD2-3 isn't difficult to find. Sanitation standards can leave a lot to be desired in many of these cafes. Especially on warm days, look to see if the meat is kept refrigerated before it is cooked. Before meals you will always be offered warm water poured over your hands from a jug. Before drinking tea, it is traditional to bless the cup with the first splash of tea from the pot. This serves ritual and hygienic purposes. Locals also believe in the sterilising properties of vodka.

Budget[edit]

There are many small restaurants serving simple meals at good prices. Burgers and kebabs are common. Borsch (soup) is tasty and perfect on a cold day.

  • Bravissimo (Junction of Shahrisabz & Movarounnakhr St). Serves cakes and good local food. Russian language only.
  • Bukhara Food (Corner of Shahristan St, near Museum of Repression). Offer cheap, good quality food. Try the Following dishes: lavash (Armenian), shurpa (Uzbek), kazi kabob (Uzbek).
  • Cafe Bukhara (Near the railway station (Avliyoota St and little ring road intersection)). Cheap and tasty local food. Nice atmosphere and you can buy your drinks in a shop next to the place.
  •    Central Asian Plov Center1 Guards Colonel Khodjaev St (1 ул. Ифтихор) (Near TV tower and Museum of Victims of Repression). Plov is available for lunch, together with fresh tomato and other salads. All the plov is prepared outside in huge cauldrons. Go early as the place gets packed and sometimes they run out.
  •    DilkashMirobod Ko'chasy. Specialty is shashlik from UZS7,000 and up, fresh salads, and non. Plov and soup also available. No liquor is sold on premises, but nearby shops sell vodka and beer.
  • Neft i Gaz Kitchen (Not far from Amir Temur Blvd and Westminster University. If you ask around people will know it). 12:00-16:00. A company canteen, but many people go there, as it is cheap and tasty. It serves most traditional dishes: plov, lagman (a soup with spaghetti, meat and other ingredients), borsh. Languages are Russian and Uzbek, but it is easy to order, as it is canteen type and you can just point to what you want. Lunch shouldn't cost more than UZS2,000.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Amfora Greek Restaurant (АМфОРА) (Near junction of Shahrisabz and Movarounnakhr).
  • AristonSabir Rahimov, St Lashkarbegi, 2 (Off Pushkin St). Like Polyanka, excellent food and cabaret entertainment (suitable for families).
  • Ariston Park. One of a few good places to eat in Boghi Eram Recreation Park.
  • CaravanA Khalkat kochasi 22a. Breakfast USD10, lunch USD15, dinner USD20.
  • Al Delfin. Excellent Arabic food. Great sheesha can be found here.
  • Jumanji62/2 Yunus Khos Khodjib St and K. Jalilov St intersection +998 71 255-42-00. 12:00-23:00. One of the best restaurants in town. Serves big portions of high quality Chinese, central Asian, and European food. Lunch USD15, dinner USD20.
  • Khan Kuk Kwan. Korean food.
  • Mir Burger (On Tashkent Broadway). So-called Turkish McDonalds.
  • Nam Dae Mun24 Bukhara St (Near Alisher Navoi Theatre and Broadway),  +998 71 2320105. Fine Korean and Japanese restaurant. Reasonably priced.
  • Pizzeria Bella Napoli63, U. Nasir St (Next to Bon! coffee shop),  +998 2539183, +998 2539184. 11:00-23:00. Small pizzeria, great atmosphere, and reasonably priced too (suitable for families). You might need to reserve a table on weekends as the place gets packed some evenings. Free delivery.
  • Polyanka Cafe (Near Boghi Eram Recreation Park). Excellent food and cabaret entertainment (suitable for families).
  • Ristorante Semo de Roma40, Chekhov St 1501835, 1501836, e-mail: . 10:30-23:00. One of the best Italian restaurants in town. Excellent food and a very nice terrace. Lunch USD10, Dinner USD15.
  • La Riva (Next to Salvador Dali nightclub.). Fast food plus huge variety of different international dishes from Russia, Korea, Italy, Tatarstan. Many college students drop in throughout the day and the evening.
  • Tang Cheng Chinese Restaurant60A Amir Temur St +998 71 1358916. Good Chinese restaurant.

Splurge[edit]

Drink[edit]

As is common in other Central Asian countries, tea is drunk by most people, but without milk. Black coffee is also available everywhere. Some coffee shops and cafes offer good coffee, but the best of them is probably Amore Coffee at the MIR store just off of Broadway.

Alcoholic drinks are readily available. Outdoor bars are popular in good weather. Uzbek wine, vodka, and many different beers are available. The Russian beer "Baltika" is popular. Baltika 3 is good and similar to other international beers. Baltika 0 has no alcohol, Baltika 5 and 7 are also good, and Baltika 9 is very strong. A new local beer, Sarbast, has been launched and should be about half the price of imported beers. It is quite good and at 4.2% (red label), not too strong. Sarbast is also available with a blue label at 5.6%.

Nightclubs, as everywhere, offer expensive drinks and typically play a mix of Russian and Western music. Strip shows are common.

  • Chelsea Arms (Kakhara St). English pub. It looks like it has been transplanted from the East End of London. Free Wi-Fi.
  • Club Diplomat (S Navoy St 200m from Dedeman Hotel). Billiard tables. It can be very busy and getting in may be difficult if your face does not fit. UZS3,000 (free for ladies).
  • Diamond Club (Below Arkada Centre on the Broadway). New and modern nightclub with a sci-fi theme. Check out the "Predator" look-alikes.
  • Fashion Bar25 Kunaev St (At the junction with Shahrisabz St). Modern bar/cafe, showing Fashion TV on large screens with music until late at night.
  • New Irish Pub (Istikbol St).
  • Patrick's Irish Pub45a Istikbol St. Irish pub.
  • Rich (In the Dedeman Hotel). Nightclub.
  • Studio Cafe (S Azimova St). Modern cafe/bar with good food and drink.

Sleep[edit]

Asia Tashkent Hotel is a newly constructed hotel located on Usman Nosir Street. It has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, 72 rooms, night club, and is popular among European customers Tel 2509687, 2509688. Tashkent Palace Hotel located on Buyuk Turon Street offers good value for money.

Budget[edit]

  • Gulnara's B&B (Short walk to Chorsu Bazaar and Metro Station),  402816/1447766, e-mail: . Clean, and comfortable. Rides from the airport can be arranged for a reasonable price. Unfortunately the owner can be very rude and unfriendly sometimes. Room, USD20; dorm, USD15.
  • Mirzo guesthouse95 Sagban St (Near Chorsu Bazaar and Chorsu Metro),  +998 93 379-66-68 (English), +998 71 244-37-94 (Russian), e-mail: . Traditional house. Clean. Friendly owner. He often plays traditional music for the guests. Wi-Fi in the evening only. Dorm, USD15; Double, USD35-40.
  • Tashkent Apartment9 Damariq (Near Nukus St and Glinka St intersection). A house with three separate bedrooms, owned by PageTour travel agency. Owners are very nice and helpful; no problem to arrange pickup from airport, book train tickets or help to change money on the market. Only downside that they do not provide registration slips for your stay (Aug 2012). (GPS N 41.17.02.2, E 069.15.44.1)

Mid-range[edit]

  • Asia Tashkent Hotel (Usman Nosir St),  2509687, 2509688. It has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, 72 rooms, nightclub, and is popular among European customers.
  • Malika Hotel +998 71 1730203. Probably the best bang-for-the-buck in Tashkent. Well-equipped and nicely outfitted. Ownership includes an American partner. Internet is non-existent in rooms, and marginally so in their lobby (email, etc., but no Skype). Also in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. USD30-45 including breakfast.
  • Rovshan Hotel (Near the Turkmen Embassy). Good service and cold beer sold at reception for UZS2,000 a bottle.
  • Tashkent Palace Hotel (Buyuk Turon St). Good value for money.

Splurge[edit]

  • Grand Mir Hotel2 Kunaeva St +998 71 140 20 00fax: +998 71 140 20 40. A luxury hotel for business travellers. Wi-Fi. Rates include fitness centre and a healthy breakfast.
  • Le Grande Plaza Hotel (Formerly BUMI), 2 Uzbekiston Ovozi St. Executive floor with lounge, outdoor pool, South Indian restaurant. 10km from airport. USD150-200.
  • InterContinental Hotel (Amir Temur St Next to Tashkent Funland, Japanese Garden),  1207000. USD181-2,200.
  • Markaziy Hotel (Amir Temur St). Opened in 1999 by Sheraton and was run by them until a few years ago, when they left having lost money after some alleged financial irregularities. The hotel is one of Tashkent's taller buildings. The rooms are still very good, but service and maintenance Bar/restaurant bills must be paid in cash. USD85-1,000.
  • Radisson SAS (Amir Temur St, about 2km from the city centre opposite Intercontinental).
  • Tashkent Palace Hotel (Formerly Le Meridien), 56, Buyuk Turon St 1205800. Traditionally-styled and visually impressive hotel. Very poor Internet.

Connect[edit]

  • Fire brigade: 01
  • Police: 02
  • Ambulance: 03
  • Telephone information: 09

Stay safe[edit]

Dental clinics[edit]

Hospitals[edit]

Tashkent is generally a very safe place to visit. However, visitors should refrain from political activities or doing anything that could be regarded as undermining the state. As anywhere, remember to watch your personal belongings.

There have been incidents of robbery, including some violent assaults but they are very rare. Travellers should use the same caution they would use in any large city, especially at night. It is not advisable for foreigners to walk around alone at night, especially in areas where few people are about and/or lighting is poor. Police sometimes levy small on-the-spot fines for minor offences such as appearing to be slightly intoxicated.

Avoid confrontations of any kind. If you witness a confrontation, especially in a crowded area such as a bazaar, move away.

Concerning food: in hot summer days try to avoid dairy products, mushrooms or any products that might be damaged by heat. You might want to avoid fish unless you are sure it has been well stored.

Some harassment by the wandering Gypsy population is possible but a donation of a few som or bottled water will generally satisfy them.

Cope[edit]

The local currency is the Uzbek Sum. There are bank notes of 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 som.

Always exchange money at official exchange offices - there are many of them. It is illegal to change currency on the black market, although the exchange rate can be up to 30% higher than in banks. If you do decide to exchange on the black market (only US$ or Euros), around Chorsu bazaar is the place. Some hotels will exchange money on the side at the better rate. US dollars can fetch a good rate but other acceptable currencies are Euros, British pounds, Russian rubles or Japanese Yen. Notes must be in perfect condition with no marks or damage. As of 2012, the official exchange rate is about 1900SUM to US$1 while the black market rate is about 2700sum to US$1. Few ATM's (known as Bankomat) work with foreign cards. US dollars are available inside banks using international credit cards with commission of about 2%. The dollars can then be changed to local currency. Newer shops and hotels are accepting credit cards and Maestro.

Embassies and Consulates[edit]

  • Azerbaijan Azerbaidjan25, Shark Tongi St (Oliy Madjlis Bldg),  1736167, 1733717, 1348458fax: 1732658, e-mail: .
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria52, Rakatboshi St +998 56 4888fax: +998 15 23952.
  • Canada Canada56, Usman Nosir St, Apt 39-40 +998 71 2539205, e-mail: . A small consulate to aid citizens. Most affairs handled through the Canadian Embassy in Moscow. For emergency after-hour service, call the Moscow Embassy +7 (495) 925-6000.
  • Germany Germany15, Sharaf Rashidov Ko'chasi (Courage Monument),  +998 12 08440, +998 12 08472, emergencies:+998 18 15406 (German), +998 18 15407 (Russian and Uzbek)fax: 1208450, 1208485, visas:1208480. M-Th, 08:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00, F 08:00-11:00.
  • Iran Iran20, Parkentskaya St 686968fax: 1206761, 687818.
  • Netherlands Netherlands77, Usmon Nasirov St +998 12 06141fax: +998 12 06367.
  • Spain Spain Consulate25, Kichik Besh-Yogoch St +998 15 25027.
  • Tajikistan Tajikistan61, Abdulla Kahor St +998 54 9966fax: +998 54 8969.
  • Turkey Turkey87, Gulyamov St (Republican Office of Public Prosecutor) +998 13 38037, 1372104, 1332107fax: 1206536, 1331358.
  • Turkmenistan Turkmenistan16, Tarobiy St +998 12 05278, 1205279fax: 1205281. The consulate is on the back. You need to arrive really early. From 06:00 people start to gather. Write your name on the list by the guards place and then wait. At around 10:00 somebody will come, shout the names on the 1st list to check if the people are still present and copy them to a 2nd list, which is the official one and after that according with that list you can enter the consulate by turns. For transit visa it takes around 20 days with no express service, no need to leave the passport, payment on pick-up, USD55 for 3-day transit visa. [Aug 2012] {GPS N 41.18.06.9, E 069.16.12.9}
  • Ukraine Ukraine68, Gulyamov St +998 13 6012, 1335523fax: 1331089.
  • United States United States3 Moyqorghon St, 5th Block, Yunusobod District +998 71 120 5450. For after-hours emergencies, American citizens should call +998 71 120 5450. Embassy includes an Information Resource Center with a small library, English-language magazines, free Internet access, and access to several large electronic databases of information. Staff can also help Uzbeks wanting to practice speaking English and answer questions about the US and US-Uzbek relations.

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