What to see in Tashkent in a Day
It is likely that you will start your exploration of Uzbekistand from Tashkent, like we did, as majority of international flights come to Tashkent. Some people do not give the city even a day, moving on to more famous cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, but this should not be the case. Tashkent has a lot to offer and this is where you will be able to see the way contemporary Uzbek people live.
In Tashkent you can see the sights from different eras, whether it is the olden days , Soviet or contemporary Uzbek history.
Unlike smaller European capitals, where it is possible to see some of the sights by walking, this is definitely not in option in Tashkent. Majority of the city is only accessible by car, as sights are wide spread and you will not be able to walk from one to the next.
Also, I am not an expert in Uzbek history, and apart from knowing some facts about Amir Temur, I would have known what I was looking at. My suggestion would be to hire a tour guide, who would be able to take you around the sights and also share the history and realities of everyday life.
Global Connect offers group or individual tours in Uzbekistan, and I was very happy when on our first morning in Tashkent, Akmal came and picked us up for a day tour of exploring.
I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky we were with Akmal , he was so full of knowledge and love of history. It is the best thing when your guide’s enthusiasm becomes contagious and you see how eager he is to share all the information he knows not only about his own city, but also about other aspects of Uzbek history.
We started off at Earthquake Memorial, where Akmal told us a story of the terrible earthquake, which demolished better part of the city and 25,000 people from former Soviet Union came to help and rebuild the city. If you just pass the memorial on your own, you probably would not notice some of the details Akmal pointed out to us. That is one of the reasons why I love going around new cities with a tour guide, as you learn a lot of information you might miss on your own.
Second stop was at Khast Imam Complex, which is considered a religious centre of Tashkent. We managed to see one of the five oldest Qurans and Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, where the famous poet was buried. Akmal also shared with us how he managed to recognise some of the symbols in the old writing style and correlate it with the old versions of Qurans in the museum complex.
There are plenty of souvenir and craft sellers in the madrasas and Akmal knows majority of them, so it was great to get a little introduction to arts and crafts and also what women wore before Soviets made Uzbekistan one of the USSR republics.
Here we are pretending to be a traditional couple, where wife would wear the burka. I have tried it on and it was not comfortable or good for your vision, as you were constantly concealed behind the woven screen.
Time was getting closer to lunch and there is no better way to get your introduction to Uzbek cuisine than plov. Plov is a rich dish with rice, meat, carrots, raisins and chickpeas. Each town or a region in Uzbekistan has their own version of plov, and I urge you to try it in every place that you visit to see the difference.
Tashkent has a plov attraction in itself – Centre of Plov, where you will see plov being cooked in huge quantities only to dissapear by 2pm in the afternoon. So if you are planning to go, make sure you are there by 1pm latest, otherwise you might risk not having any plov that day!
Our first plov was delicious and salad with fresh vegetables complimented it well. You will see some tourists here, but it is mostly locals or city visitors, who come here, so definitely put Plov Centre on your itinerary and enjoy this traditional Uzbek dish.
After lunch we looked at the Independence Monument, which is practically next door to the Plov Centre. I loved the scenery around it with quick river stream.
Next stop was Chorsu Market and I will write a separate post about this place. It is such a foodie paradise, you definitely have to visit and buy, buy, buy anything you can take with you home. You will not get such quality of dried fruits, nuts or fresh fruit anywhere else in the West.
The last point on our tour was the central city area with Amir Temur Museum and Amir Temur statue. I think, we were supposed to ride on the metro as well to see how beautiful it is inside, but it was getting late for us, so we did not manage to do it.
We had a look inside the Amir Timur museum and Akmal told us some more legends mixed with historical facts.
It was time for us to say goodbye, after such a full day sightseeing and getting familiar with Uzbekistan culture and history. I would not hesitate to recommend Global Connect, as we went on 3 tours with them during our time in Uzbekistan and each of the tours was led by a true expert, usually speaking several languages.
Global Connect hosted us for Tashkent City Tour, but all opinions are my own.