A museum full of copies with a weird, incoherent story (if there is a story). This museum does not make any sense at all and should only be visited by political ethnographers interested in the process of nation-building.
Amir Timur museum
There are a lot of museums in Uzbekistan, and the vast majority are really bad and absolutely unnecessary. Now, a museum about the Timurid empire and legacy is not necessarily a bad idea, but it should hold some interest.
Like a wedding palace with a green carbuncle rising out of its roof, the Amir Timur museum is designed with craft and opulence, but sadly without the style and elegance of the Timurid era. Although some of the exhibits might be of interest, like Timur’s letter to the King of France, or certain weaponry, these float in a vacuum of meaning.
I find it difficult to find something of worth in this place. There are better things to do in Tashkent.
Amir Timur square
Amir Timur Square was conceived by its Russian overlords, when the Tsar’s armies first came to Tashkent in the 19th century. With its clear radial design the square was to be the center of a new Tashkent, acting as a counterpoint to the maze of backstreets and alleyways of the traditional mahallas.
For more than 100 years, it was one of Tashkent’s most-loved public spaces, a leafy refuge from the daily summer heat. In the center, busts of the hero of the day were placed: General Kaufmann, Lenin, Marx, Stalin, and now, Amir Timur.
Since President Karimov ordered the trees cut for a clearer view, the square has lost its appeal. The Amir Timur Museum and the Palace of International Forums are both monstrous (the interior of the PIF is awesome, though, but tourists cannot enter). The 2 clock towers, one built in 1947 to house clocks stolen from Germany after the war, the other as a copy in the 2000’s, feel out of place.
We would say the Uzbekistan Hotel is the saving grace of the square, if only that would be slightly too much honour. Like a muscular shemale, it is undeniably attractive, in the purest sense of that word, but at the same time, an unintended sense of foreboding emanates from its hulking body.
Still, pretty cool building. Just don’t stay there – you have better options.
How to visit
- On the map: OSM / Gmaps
- Metro: Amir Timur
- Museum entrance: 8000 sum, extra for pictures
- The Book Cafe nearby is a good option for an iced latte and a quiet read, with many English books in the selection.