In 1966 a devastating earthquake struck Tashkent, occasioning a blank slate for architects and city planners from across the Soviet Union to create the ideal Communist city. The remnants of the past were dwarfed as New Tashkent became a monumental metropolis in the 1970’s, a Moscow of the Orient.
Half a century later Tashkent still retains much of that Soviet spirit. Tidy, wide boulevards are lined by oak trees. A sense of peacefulness and security are pervasive. Modernist architecture looms at every crossroads.
Add in the mosques and craft beer pubs of today, mix it with the mausoleums of yesteryear, and we’d venture that the biggest city of former Soviet Central Asia is an interesting place to visit.
How long should you stay?
Having said that, Tashkent does not get a lot of love from the travel community. As a large, modern city, it fails to live up to the image of Uzbekistan conjured up in tourist brochures. If medieval architecture and colourful arts and crafts is what you came for, you probably don’t need more than a day in Tashkent.
To tick off all of the obligatory highlights, add another day. If, on the other hand, you are a flaneur and a fan of Modernist architecture, you can easily spend 3 more days on top of that, simply strolling Tashkent.
First or last?
If you are entering and leaving Uzbekistan through Tashkent, we recommend you get out of the city soon after your arrival. Tashkent is best visited on the way back, when you might care to eat something other than plov and somsa and might actually even welcome a bit of big-city buzz; in this respect Tashkent serves as a halfway house between your holiday experience and the world back home.
Also, the museums make more sense after you have visited the places where the art came from.
Old Tashkent is the area northwest of the center, between Chorsu bazaar and the Khast Imam complex. It contains the old mahallas that survived the earthquake and subsequent modernisation push, as well as Tashkent’s remaining medieval monuments.
Central Tashkent is the area roughly between metro stops Kosmonavtlar and Oybek in the south, Amir Timur Square in the center, and north up to Bodomzor metro station between Amir Timur street and the Anhor canal. Here you will find most museums and monuments as well as the best restaurants and hotels in Tashkent.
Together, these 2 areas comprise almost all points of classic tourist interest. Beyond lie residential neighbourhoods, parks and shopping and entertainment districts.
Some people find the police presence around metro stations oppressive (they obviously haven’t been to Xinjiang at that point). I’d let that thought fly; police is courteous towards travelers, and the police state, despite its obvious dark side, does make Tashkent a superbly safe city for tourists.
Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Tashkent.
Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
Check out our listings of things to do in and around Tashkent.
Read up on how to get in, out and around Tashkent.