The history of Stone Town, the name of Tashkent in Uzbek language sounds namely such way, is amazing, enlightening and memorable. For the first time it was talked about in the end of XI century, and since then, the city, located at the crossroad of trade routes, has always been desired prey of militant tribes. From the ancient times Tashkent was a member of various khanates and the states that existed on the territory of the ancient Uzbekistan, and in the middle of 19 century was conquered by the armies of Tsarist Russia. Attached to the Russian Empire, the city becomes the centre of Turkestan governor-generalship. After that it was the 1917 year Revolution, the overthrow of the autocracy and the formation of the Uzbek SSR. Since 1930 year Tashkent becomes capital of the republic.
In 1966 a devastating earthquake razed the town almost to the ground level. However, thanks to the assistance of the fraternal republics of the former USSR, it was rebuilt, and from that time Tashkent begins the transformation from ordinary eastern city into a modern, terrific metropolis. Today Tashkent is the capital of the Uzbekistan Republic, considered to be the largest and one of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia with no doubt, but the memory of important historical events, as previously, is cherished by this ancient and eternally young giant.
What may attract sophisticated travelers to tour in Tashkent nowadays?
Firstly, surely these are remarkable preserved and artfully restored ancient monuments devoted to the recent anniversary of Uzbekistan's 2200 year celebration. Such ones as the famous Kukeldash mosque, Sheikhantaur and Zanghi-ata complexes, the ensemble of Hazrat Imam, Jamia, Tilla-Sheikh, Namazgokh Mosques, as well as less-known numerous minarets, mausoleums and madrasas. That is a wonderful opportunity to share the feelings of the roots of Islam and pay tribute to the ancient sages, philosophers and great men of that era, isn’t it?
Secondly, this is the place where you can visit the famous Oriental bazaar.
Chorsu market, located in the historic old town (Eski Shahar) - one of the largest markets in Tashkent, will allow you to plunge into the diversity of the present Orient and stun you with its abundance. Incredible hills of huge water-melons, divinely smelling melons, juicy peaches and grapes, ripe tomatoes and surprisingly bright crops will make you to stay speechless astonishment. Mountains of fragrant spices and herbs, the only titles of which force to shrink the belly in sweet anticipation will take the attention of a real connoisseur for a long time. Almost nobody can pass indifferently through the counters with full of national dishes and sweets. Kurt, Navat, kazinaki, dried apricots, raisins, dried melon, salty and sweet almonds, and pistachios – is the only fraction of delicacies, stockpiled for dear guests. Everything here is not only should, but also must be tasted, to discuss goods with the owner and bargain fiercely - this is a ritual. And what about the counters’ chains of hand-embroidered national costumes, household items, souvenirs and crafts? That is where your imagination can be broadened! Everyone here can choose a nice little thing for a long memory.
On the whole, a market, more precisely a bazaar, is a town in the city. People come this place not only because of shopping, but also for being among the crowd, chatting, eating in one of the many taverns, having fun by looking at the traditional circus - high-wire artists, and simply because they desire to have a good time.
Interesting museums and expositions in the city - this is the third reason, why you shouldn’t deny the pleasure to visit Tashkent.
The State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan will give you pleasure thanks to a remarkable collection which includes more than 50,000 pieces of decorative folk art, as well as the art of Uzbekistan, Russia, Western Europe and of the East abroad.
Museum of Applied Arts, the most frequently visited by tourists, will introduce to you the exhibition, which includes more than 7.000 of rare specimens of applied art. Woodcarving and ganch, chasing the metal, carpet, jewelry, unique ceramics, gold embroidery- all that is known for Uzbekistan from the first half of the XIX century to the present day is reflected in the collection.
Museum of Timurids History will present a rich collection of materials about Amir Timur - the ruler, military leader, lawyer, founder the Great Empire.
The State Museum of History of Uzbekistan will help you to feel the scale of civilization in Central Asia during the ancient ages and will provide an opportunity to see many artifacts that have a worldwide fame. Among which is a Saxon large bronze cauldron 4.5 century BC and a sculpture of Buddha, regarding to the 1st century BC.
The Museum of Memory of Repression’s Victims - the unique in the CIS, will tell you about the repression faced by the people of Uzbekistan. The so-called fight against basmachestvo – freedom fighters movement, eviction from the country, the Stalinist persecution, this is an incomplete list of events reflected in the exhibition.
Oriental cuisine – is the fourth reason to hurry up with the trip.
Manta, kazi, lagman, naryn, shurpa, mastava, barbecue, somsa – you should agree that the names of national dishes sound like music for a real gourmet. And what to say about pilaf? Pilaf – is the top of Uzbek cuisine. Only in Tashkent, you can visit the real Pilaf Center and it's not an exaggeration. The cafe of the same name, located in the most beautiful places of the city nearby the TV tower, will offer you up to five varieties of the favorite dish, prepared by the best chefs in accordance with the traditions of various regions of Uzbekistan.
Generally, it is cooked everywhere in Tashkent, right on the sidewalks using outdoor grill, teasing passers-by with appetizing smells. It is a meal on the street, not visiting "inspirational" restaurants will give you a true presentation of the national cuisine’s diversity. Many small street cafes specializing in cuisines of various nationalities, regions and even cities of Uzbekistan have their own fans and regulars. And every citizen will certainly share the addresses of favorite gastronomic tastes with you: where to go to eat barbecue, where is the best Uighur Lagman in the city and whose Somsa will delight even the most demanding critic.
80 km from Tashkent, where the confluence of three wild rivers Ugam, Chatkal and Pskem the alpine dam - Charvak hydro-electric station was built, which formed a huge artificial lake - Charvak, surrounded by slopes of the mountains, crowned with lily-white snow. It is right here, in the territory of Ugam-Chatkal Park citizens’ such beloved reserve area located. On the shore of the reservoir there is a sanitary complex, organized especially for boating amateurs - Charvak Oromgohi, it includes a cozy and comfortable hotel "Pyramid" with 800 meter sandy beach, playgrounds and a berth for windsurfing and catamarans. Meanwhile, higher in the mountains at a distance of 7 km away from each other there are two mountain resorts at once: "Chimgan Oromgohi" and "Beldersay Oromgohi. Having modern Hotels and cottages, a helipad and cableways, resorts demand at any time of year. Summer and spring are riding and hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting and helicopter tours. But the real expanse starts in winter. Equipped with cable cars and rope tows, having convenient routes of any complexity (including children), almost not knowing the bad weather, "Chimgan" and "Beldersay" are easily can be called “Mecca” for skiers and free riders of Uzbekistan and the near abroad.
Finally, the sixth and the main reason - familiarity with the city and citizens.
Without any false modesty, we can say that Tashkent - one of the most interesting cities in the world. Historic landmarks, memorials and monuments are organically woven into the canvas of the modern metropolis. For sure there is something modern architecture can be proud of. These are buildings of the Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Navoi, Tashkent TV tower, the building of Catholic Church, the Amir Temur Square in the heart of the city, the modernized Independence Square, excellent ultramodern high-rise buildings and Tashkent City – in the downtown, a water park, new building of the planetarium and much more. What about the parks? Parks in the city at almost every turn, well-maintained, shady, real oases in the midst of summer heat, they are located to reflect or leisurely conversation with a friend.
But the greatest value of Tashkent is people. Not wroth during economical crisis, curious, generous, kind and a little naive. That is right here you realize that Islam is not aggression religious fanatics, but philosophy perception of the world, absolutely loyal to a different consciousness and mentality.