Tashkent means “Stone City,” a name aptly given to the city due to its history of man-driven and natural destructions and its spirit to fight back and stand firm. Its envious location on the erstwhile Silk Road has made this city an indispensable part of the trade history of the world. The enigmatic city of Tashkent has a unique combination of newly-built modern architecture, remnants of Soviet-era and traditional city-life of farmers and traders.
The capital city of Uzbekistan deserves a visit to explore its rich history and delve in its contribution to the Islamic world. Here is a two-day itinerary for Tashkent.
Best Weekend Getaway in Uzbekistan
Start your day by eating a breakfast of Samsa (or Samosa). A popular snack that consists of a pastry filled with meat or vegetables and then baked in a tandoor. This crispy snack is served with chilly vinegar and leaves your taste buds satiated.
After that delicious breakfast, head to the Hazrat Imam Complex, a sprawling area which is home to many architectural wonders. The complex comprises of Madrasa of Barak-Khan, Tilla Sheikh Mosque, the mausoleum of the Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari. The Barak-khan Madarsa is especially famous because the Quran of Caliph Uthman – Ottoman, one of the six original Qurans is preserved here. It has a rich library of oriental manuscripts as well as 353 parchment pages of the authentic Quran.
Have a traditional Uzbeki lunch of Non (bread) with soup or meat. It is now time to take a trip down the history lane and shop at Chorsu Market, which has stood firm for centuries. This blue-colored domed structure is frequented by the locals and the tourists alike as it houses everything that you can imagine.
After gratifying the shopaholic in you, head to Kukeldash Madrasah, a beautiful monument built in yellow stone and original Uzbeki blue-colored intricate work in it. This Madarsa has undergone an unbelieved transition from being a museum of atheism, museum of folk arts back to being a Madarsa again, all of it in the 20th century only.
Treat yourself with yummy shashliks at one of the multiple street-food vendors at the Chorsu Market for dinner. While heading back to your hotel room, make sure to take a metro back. Yes, we insist on this because Tashkent Metro can be touted as one of the most beautiful metros and you won’t regret making a stop here.
Start your day with a substantial breakfast of Kutabi. A fluffy bread stuffed with meat or vegetables.
Head to Amir Timur Square in the center of the city named after Amir Timur, the commander, and founder of the Medieval Empire. The center of the square is adorned by a magnificent statue of Amir Timur with a park consisting of fountains and plantings. Wander in the square and marvel at beautiful buildings of “Uzbekistan” Hotel, University of Law (former Women’s Gymnasium), the Amir Timur Museum, well-known Tashkent Chimes and the Forums Palace – one of the most theatrical architectural structures in Tashkent.
Your lunch today should be of Wedding Pilaf (Plov), a heady amalgamation of rice, meat, grated carrots and onions, and raisins (with a clove of roasted garlic on top). Be warned; you will be overeating this heavenly dish, so better be prepared.
After the heavy lunch, head to Alisher Navoi Opera & Ballet Theatre, a beautiful monument that finds a place on one soʻm note of Uzbeki currency. Built by Alexey Shchusev, the theatre has a capacity of 1400 spectators. It is worth a visit for its impressive interiors and amazing performances.
Visit the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan, the oldest museum in central Asia. The museum hosts artifacts that include archeological, numismatic and ethnographical items that reveal Uzbek history from the primitive times up to the present.
After an exhaustive day, you deserve to eat a delicious meal. Try eating horse meat, which is a specialty in Uzbekistan.
P.S. Along with the attractions mentioned above, there are many famous places like Ilkhom Theatre, Earthquake Museum, T.V. Tower, International Caravanserai of Culture, Museum of Applied Art, and so on. They deserve a second trip to Tashkent!