Oh, what a beauty, what a realm!
And paradise can’t be compared with Shash.
And one, who makes this place his home for long,
Forever will forget what paradise it is.
The Uzbek capital and Central Asian premier metropolis, Tashkent today is a city where yesterday meets tomorrow, where traces of centuries-old history live side by side with tokens of a vibrant, modern, to a certain degree westernized life.
Dating from about the 2nd century BCE, Tashkent started as a big urban settlement on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains. Due to its position on a junction of the Silk Road, advantageous geographical location and favourable climate, Tashkent has thousand-year experience in welcoming visitors from near and far.
Over centuries, the city has endured numerous sieges and invasions: it saw Turkic raiders, Arab cavalry followed by Moslem preachers, and Mongol hordes. But apparently it was the natural calamity, the earthquake of 1966 that flattened much of the city’s architectural past. Among the survivors of great interest is the legacy of the Middle Ages: Khast Imam Mosque with world’s oldest Koran, monumental building of Kukeldash Maddrasah (17th century), one of the masterpieces of the medieval architecture Barak-khan complex, mausoleum of Yunus-khan (14th century) and mausoleum of Shaikhantaur (15th century).
More than anywhere else, memories of the Great Silk Road are conjured up at various bazaars located throughout the Uzbek capital. Bustling, colourful, with typical welcoming atmosphere, they offer carpets and knives, ceramics and silk fabrics, spices and a variety of food. This is the perfect place to buy unique pieces of traditional local art to evoke vivid travel memories of the country visited.
Having been built anew after the earthquake Tashkent was turned into a dynamic city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere: tree lined avenues, wide roads, fountains and parks, plenty of green space, mirror-like exteriors of the high-rise apartments, banks, business centers. Tashkent today offers the visitors numerous accommodation options, a wide array of amenities and activities, from cultural events to fairs and exhibitions, a clutch of interesting museums and concert halls. Cuisine is another area where in recent years Tashkent has enjoyed an impressive upswing- it is home to a selection of stylish international restaurants and varied ethnic eateries. Visitors can wrap up the day with a pleasant evening at the opera or night-club.
The city also offers many outdoor experiences, like entertainment at city’s amusement parks, sporting activities at golf club, or hiking , trekking, windsurfing or simply a lakeside barbeque in the Chimgan mountains located nearby.
The main transportation hub of the whole Central Asia, Tashkent has the best international connections and can be reached by air, rail and road. Moreover, Tashkent is a perfect gateway to the World Heritage cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.