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What to see in Uzbekistan

Tashkent

The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent is located close to the border of Kazakstan and is the center for Uzbek government. Travelers to Tashkent might feel that it contrasts greatly with other popular destinations in Uzbekistan, due to it’s more modern feel and Soviet architecture. Much of the older parts of the city were destroyed in a huge earthquake in 1966 and since that time efforts have been made to reconstruct the city to a modern standard. It is the most populated city in ex-Soviet Central Asia, but despite this, it manages to retain some of its traditional Uzbek charms in the remaining parts of the old town. The majority of Tashkent locals speak in Russian and the most striking attributes of the city are its wide palatial avenues and numerous green space and squares, all immaculately kept.

Travelers looking to immerse themselves in the day-to-day workings of life in Tashkent should head to the Chorsu Bazaar, the heart of Tashkent and a market that has occupied the same area for over 2000 years. Here you can shop for traditional wares and dress, crafts and even musical instruments alongside fresh produce and spices. It is normally full with locals running errands in the mornings. Between the bazaar and the stunning Kukeldash Madrassa is a great selection of cafes and restaurants serving local and fusion cuisines, a product of the wonderful mix of cultures and traditions here, all in part due to the strategic position the country held during the years of the Silk Road. The city’s main hub, Saligokh Street, known locally as ‘Broadway’, is home to street artists, modern shops and fast-food restaurants.

The Tashkent Tower, a 375-meter-high television tower with an observation deck, is a great vantage point for an overview of the city and its contrasting neighborhoods. Other highlights include the 16th-century Kukeldash Madrasa, one of the most popular sites in the old quarter and the Assumption Cathedral, a beautiful sky-blue colored building adorned with golden domes, in a traditional Russian Orthodox style. Senate Square is a wide, open plaza, bordered by museums and government buildings and the perfect place for a quiet stroll from where you can admire a number of sculptures, some dedicated to fallen Uzbek soldiers and to victims of the 1966 earthquake.

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