Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is a city where modernity meets tradition, offering a unique blend of Soviet-era architecture, Islamic heritage, and bustling bazaars. For those considering things to do in Tashkent, visiting the Khast-Imam Complex, home to one of the world’s oldest Quran manuscripts, and exploring the Chorsu Bazaar, a vibrant market offering everything from fresh produce to traditional crafts, are top activities.
The city’s Amir Timur Square, centered around a statue of the 14th-century conqueror, is surrounded by impressive buildings and is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Nearby, the Tashkent Metro, known for its ornately decorated stations, provides not just a means of transportation but also a visual feast.
Beyond its urban attractions, Tashkent serves as a gateway to the ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. For those seeking the best places to visit in Uzbekistan, Tashkent’s mix of historical sites, cultural richness, and modern amenities makes it a compelling destination.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
1. Amir Timur Square
Amir Timur Square is a central city square in Tashkent, named after the 14th-century Turko-Mongol military leader. In the center stands an impressive statue of Amir Timur himself, surrounded by lush gardens, fountains, and benches. The square is bordered by important buildings including the Amir Timur Museum, and it’s a popular gathering spot for locals.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the square is beautifully lit and has a vibrant atmosphere.
2. Chorsu Bazaar
Chorsu Bazaar is one of the most famous and bustling markets in Tashkent, located in the old town area. It’s a place where locals come to buy everything from fresh produce and spices to textiles and handicrafts. The bazaar is housed under a giant dome and spreads out into surrounding alleys and streets.
Travel Tip: Be sure to bargain when shopping, as it’s a common practice at the market.
3. Kukeldash Madrasah
Kukeldash Madrasah, situated near Chorsu Bazaar, is a historical Islamic school dating back to the 16th century. It’s one of the oldest and most significant madrasahs in Tashkent, and it has been used for various purposes throughout its history, including as a fortress and a caravanserai.
Travel Tip: Respect the religious nature of the site, and be sure to dress modestly when visiting.
4. Tashkent Metro
The Tashkent Metro is not just a mode of transportation but also an architectural marvel. Each station has its own unique design, featuring intricate mosaics, chandeliers, and artwork. It’s one of the most beautiful subways in the world, and a tour of the stations is like a visit to an art gallery.
Travel Tip: Take a ride on the metro to experience this underground museum, but remember that photography inside the metro was prohibited until recently, so check the current rules before snapping any photos.
5. State Museum of History of Uzbekistan
The State Museum of History of Uzbekistan is one of the oldest and largest museums in Central Asia, housing a vast collection that spans from ancient times to the modern day. The exhibits include archaeological artifacts, traditional clothing, and historical documents.
Travel Tip: Allocate at least a couple of hours to explore the museum’s extensive collection, and consider hiring a guide or using an audio guide to enhance your experience.
6. Hazrati Imam Complex
The Hazrati Imam Complex is a religious and historical site in Tashkent, including several architecturally significant buildings such as the Barak-Khan Madrasah, the Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum, and the Tillya Sheikh Mosque. The complex is a place of pilgrimage and is home to the Uthman Quran, believed to be the world’s oldest Quran.
Travel Tip: Visit during the early morning or late afternoon when it’s quieter, and take the time to absorb the spiritual and historical significance of the site.
7. Independence Square
Independence Square (Mustakillik Square) is the main square in Tashkent and a symbol of Uzbekistan’s independence. The spacious, park-like area features fountains, monuments, and administrative buildings. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists to stroll and relax.
Travel Tip: Visit during a national holiday or festival to see the square come alive with celebrations and performances.
8. Tashkent Tower
The Tashkent Tower, or Tashkent Television Tower, is a 375-meter-high tower that offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. It’s one of the tallest structures in Central Asia and is used for television and radio broadcasting.
Travel Tip: Head to the observation deck for sunset to enjoy spectacular views of Tashkent as the city lights start to come on.
9. Palace of International Forums ‘Uzbekistan’
This palace is a modern architectural marvel and a major venue for international and national events, conferences, and forums. The building’s design is a blend of traditional Uzbek and contemporary styles, making it a standout feature in Tashkent’s cityscape.
Travel Tip: Even if you’re not attending an event, the building is impressive to see from the outside, particularly when it’s lit up at night.
10. Museum of Applied Arts
The Museum of Applied Arts in Tashkent is housed in a charming 19th-century building, showcasing a rich collection of traditional Uzbek handicrafts, including ceramics, textiles, woodwork, and metalwork. The building itself is adorned with intricate carvings, tiles, and decorative elements, making it a work of art in its own right.
Travel Tip: Be sure to explore the courtyard and take a closer look at the building’s exquisite exterior details.
11. The Monument of Courage
The Monument of Courage, located near the center of Tashkent, commemorates the victims and resilience of the local population during the devastating earthquake that struck the city in 1966. The monument features a clock stopped at 5:24, the moment when the earthquake hit, and a bronze sculpture depicting a woman protecting her child.
Travel Tip: Visit the monument to pay respects and learn about this significant event in Tashkent’s history.
12. Minor Mosque
The Minor Mosque is one of the newer additions to Tashkent’s religious landscape, completed in 2014. With its stunning white marble exterior, vibrant blue domes, and intricate tile work, the mosque is a beautiful example of contemporary Islamic architecture. It’s located on the banks of the Ankhor Canal, providing a picturesque setting.
Travel Tip: Visit during the non-prayer times when tourists are allowed inside, and don’t forget to bring a camera to capture its beauty.
13. Navoi Theater
The Navoi Theater in Tashkent is a grand opera and ballet theater named after the Uzbek poet Alisher Navoi. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, and the interior is just as impressive with its lavish decorations, grand staircases, and ornate auditorium.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule and try to catch a performance here for a cultural night out.
14. Tashkent Botanical Garden
The Tashkent Botanical Garden, one of the largest in Asia, offers a peaceful retreat from the city hustle. It features a variety of flora from around the world, laid out in different sections including a Japanese garden, rose garden, and arboretum.
Travel Tip: Bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing afternoon amidst the greenery.
15. Yunus Khan Mausoleum
This historical mausoleum is dedicated to Yunus Khan, a 15th-century ruler and grandfather of the Mughal emperor Babur. The mausoleum is an example of Timurid architecture, featuring a simple yet elegant design with a dome and intricate tile work.
Travel Tip: Visit as part of a walking tour of old Tashkent to better understand the city’s history.
16. The Ilkhom Theatre
The Ilkhom Theatre is a renowned experimental theater in Tashkent, known for its avant-garde performances and contemporary plays. It was founded in 1976 and has since been a vital part of Tashkent’s cultural scene.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule and try to catch a performance; even if you don’t understand the language, the expressive performances are worth watching.
17. Tashkent Zoo
The Tashkent Zoo is a popular attraction for families and animal lovers, featuring a variety of species from around the world. The zoo is actively involved in conservation efforts and provides educational programs for visitors.
Travel Tip: Visit during the cooler parts of the day when the animals are more active, and bring water and snacks as there are limited facilities inside.
18. Tashkent Planetarium
The Tashkent Planetarium is a unique attraction, offering educational shows and exhibits related to astronomy and space exploration. It’s a great place to learn about the stars, planets, and the universe.
Travel Tip: The shows are mainly in Uzbek or Russian, so check if there are any available in English if you don’t speak the languages.
FAQ About Things to Do in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
What are the must-visit historical sites in Tashkent?
Tashkent is rich in history with must-visit sites including the Khast Imam Complex, home to the world’s oldest Quran, the Chorsu Bazaar, an ancient market, and the Amir Timur Museum, dedicated to the Mongol conqueror.
Are there any parks or gardens in Tashkent for leisure activities?
Yes, Tashkent offers several green spaces for leisure, such as Alisher Navoi National Park, which has beautiful walking paths, a lake, and an amusement park, and the Japanese Garden, perfect for a peaceful stroll.
Can I explore Tashkent’s cultural scene?
Absolutely! You can visit the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan, catch a performance at the Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, or enjoy local crafts at the numerous galleries and workshops throughout the city.
Is there traditional cuisine I should try in Tashkent?
Definitely! Make sure to try plov, the national dish of Uzbekistan, along with somsa, shashlik, and lagman. Visit traditional tea houses or chaikhanas for an authentic dining experience.
What are the best shopping experiences in Tashkent?
Tashkent’s Chorsu Bazaar is the place for an authentic local shopping experience, offering everything from spices and textiles to handmade crafts. For more upscale shopping, visit the Tashkent Plaza or the Samarqand Darvoza shopping malls.
Are there any unique outdoor activities in Tashkent?
Yes, you can enjoy picnicking and hiking in the nearby mountains, such as Chimgan and Beldersay, or take a leisurely boat ride on the Tashkent Sea, a man-made reservoir.
How can I experience local traditions in Tashkent?
To immerse yourself in local traditions, attend a folklore show, participate in a cooking class to learn how to make Uzbek dishes, or visit during Navruz, the Persian New Year, to see Tashkent come alive with cultural celebrations.
Are there guided tours available to explore Tashkent?
Yes, there are various guided tours available that cover the historical, cultural, and modern aspects of Tashkent. These can range from walking tours in the old city to bus tours that cover the wider metropolitan area.