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Tashkent

Brave city of Tashkent

Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and one of the biggest cities of Central Asia. Tashkent is the north-east of Uzbekistan at foothills of Tien Shan mountains at the height of 440-480 meters in the valley of Chirchiq river. Fortified city Chach, which was located in place of modern Tashkent, was mentioned in the second century B.C. It was important trade center. In the eighth century, Chach was destroyed by Arab conquerors and it regained its importance as the large trade city in the 14-15th century during rule of Amir Temur. Name of Tashkent was changed several times during its history and it received current name in the 11th century, which means “Stone city” in translation from Uzbek language.

Must-see places of Tashkent:

Amir Temur Square

Konstantinovskaya Square, which was the biggest square, was located in the place of current Amir Temur Square during Tsarist Russia. Since it had unpaved surface, there was usually dust, while during rain there was a mess of mud.

Two streets crossed in the middle of the square – Kaufman and Moscow streets. They served as trade roads in the middle of the last century. Moscow street was a part of the Great Silk Road, leading to China. Kaufman street led to Qoqand direction. Two streets divided shady square to four parts. At the same time, the road skirted it, which also connected the large avenues.

That’s why it was lively place from ancient times. Male and female gymnasium (currently Law University), as well as the state bank are located around the square. They reached our times.

Initially the governor-general of Turkestan was buried in the square. The monument with many figures was installed here, and the place was renamed into Kaufman Square.

After 1917, the monuments and names of the place changed over and over. Moscow street was renamed into Engels street, Kaufman to Karl Marx street. One thing remained unchanged. The square always attracted citizens and tourists.

On the eve of the third anniversary of Uzbekistan, 31 August 1994, the square was named after statesman Amir Temur. Sculptor Ilkhom Jabbarov created new bronze monument – Great Commander sits on his warhorse. It was installed in the centre of the square.

The place was fully reconstructed in November 2009. Green lawns and walking paths were updated. More benches were installed.

Amir Temur Museum

State Museum of history of Timurids is located in the centre of Tashkent. It was opened in 1996 in honour of the 660th anniversary of Amir Temur.

Over 5,000 exhibits provide information on history of Central Asia in details during rule of Amir Temur and his dynasty. The museum is located in rounded three-storey building with classical dome, typical for eastern architecture.

It is decorated with marble inside. The columns soar up high. Interior is richly decorated with the finest paintings and oriental miniatures. About 20 kg of gold leaf was used during construction of the museum. Crystal chandelier, consisting of 106 000 pendants, is a real work of art.

Murals on the walls tell about the life of the Great Commander. The paintings depict the history of the country from the primitive society to the present day.

The exhibits are grouped on topics in order to create convenience to the visitors. Among them are manuscripts, telling about Great Commander and his dynasty. Coins from silver and copper with images of Amir Temur’s coat of arms and names of his descendants are also exhibited here.

Fine jewellery, ceramic and copper goods should be mentioned as well. As Amir Temur was great commander, the museum pays special attention to medieval weapons and arms, clothes of military officers and soldiers.

The museum also presents musical instruments of that epoch. Astronomical instruments of the scientist and the ruler Ulugbek represent enormous value. During operation of the museum, archaeologists and historians have also collected information on manuscripts, relating to the Timurids era, from outside of Uzbekistan.

Each year, the museum’s fund enriches with archaeological finds and artefacts, returning from abroad. The museum also has a special room, where gifts of the guests are stored.

The museum’s exhibits have significant historic value. Their ornaments and colours were preserved after over 600 years.

Independence Square is the heart of Tashkent

Independence Square is the heart of Tashkent. The square hosts various important state events and festivities.In times of Tsarist Russia, it was the Cathedral Square. Transfiguration Cathedral, mainly for military, was built here. It stood in front of White House with the beautiful garden, where Governor-General of Turkestan lived.

After October revolution, it was renamed into Red Square. Twenty years later, the square was named as the Square named after Vladimir Lenin. It was reconstructed almost ten years later, which is partially connected with devastating earthquake in 1966. The square received new artistic and architectural style. Its size also increased by 3.5 times.

On 31 August 1991, Uzbekistan announced its independence and the square was named as Independence Square.

In order to enter the square, one should pass Ezgulik Arch (Good and noble aspirations). Storks are flying over its crossbars. Tiled path leads directly to the Monument of Independence and Humanism. It consists of a golden globe with the outline of Uzbekistan.

The statue of Happy Mother was installed in front of it in 2006. Ilkhom and Kamol Jabbarovs worked on image of ordinary Uzbek woman. The sculpture with the height of 6 meters symbolizes the Motherland. Woman looks to the child with kindness and love. Child symbolizes future.

The buildings of the Cabinet of Ministers and Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan (upper house of the Uzbek parliament) are also located in Mustaqillik Square.

There is also an important memorial – Memory Square in Mustaqillik square as there is no future without history. It was opened in honour of people, who participated in the World War II. Grieving Mother at the Eternal Flame meekly mourns children, who did not return from the battlefields.

ChorsuBazaar(Market)

Bazaar always was the heart of any city in the east. Bazaar was place, where public life was in full swing. The merchants and ordinary citizens met to discuss important news and find out the prices.

Lovers of chaihana (teahouse) generously treated each other with pilaf and drink hot green tea even in the summer heat. People say that green tea helps to withstand heat better.

The bazaars were located in the crossroads of trade roads. The bazaars were located mainly in large city squares, where holidays and theatrical performances were held. Bazaars were built in the form of dome structures, which protected people from heat and dust. The peak of popularity of their construction fell to 9-13th centuries.

Architecture

Chorsu Bazaar was famous in the middle of the century. It located in main square of the city, Eski Juva. Over time, the bazaar collapsed and it was rebuilt during various epochs. However, the domes were unchanged traditional attribute of the bazaar. Currently, modern Chorsu complex reflects architectural styles and traditions of the past years. The bazaar includes several trade pavilions, which crowned with blue dome.

One-dome building, which is decorated with eastern ornaments, is located in the center of the bazaar. The building has circle of about 300-350 meters and consists of three floors. There are many outbuildings on lower floor. Trade stalls occupy middle and upper floors.

Visitors can purchase fresh fruits, Uzbek bread and traditional sweets at Chorsu bazaar in Tashkent. Trade stalls overwhelmed with the dried fruits and a variety of spices, which are widely used in eastern cuisine. It is impossible simply pass by affable sellers.

Near bazaar there are traditional chaihanas, which invite to taste national cuisines. Therefore, pleasant aroma of tasteful Uzbek pilaf can be felt in the air. Chefs cook barbecues and shurpa (soup) from lamb. After tasting the Uzbek cuisine, it is time to walk through shops of artisans, who produce hand-made souvenirs.

Minor Mosque

Minor Mosque has been built in Tashkent recently. Its construction was started in 2013 on the bank of Anhor channel along Small Ring Road. It was opened in 2014 on the eve of Qurbon Hayit (Eid al Adha).Minor Mosque is the largest spiritual centre for local Muslims. All people of Tashkent also like to visit it. It is pleasant to walk here due to beautiful appearance of the building and its territory. They stare to stars and a new masterpiece of Central Asian architecture.

Architecture

The building has traditional design and adheres to traditions of oriental architecture.

However, snow-white Minor Mosque differs from ancient buildings, constructed from bricks. The facade of the building was tiled with white marble, which provides special solemn to the building. It sparks and shimmers during sunny day.

Two minarets and dome of azure colour tower in the blue sky of Tashkent. The main facade looks to road and has portal entry. Over 2,400 people can pray simultaneously in the mosque.

There is open front side with terrace. There is a large round-shaped hall in it. Interior was decorated in naqsh style. Gilded mihrab, pointing to Mecca, is decorated with sayings from the Quran and Hadith. The mosque also has special rooms for ablution, which is prescribed tradition for Muslims. For convenience of the visitors, they are equipped with modern accessories.

Although Minor Mosque has not yet own interesting legends, the white marble beauty will not leave you indifferent.

Tashkent TV Tower

Tashkent TV tower is the second highest construction in Central Asia. It is also the highest building with viewing area, open for public.

Thanks to its height of 375 meters, it holds the 11th place in the world among similar constructions. Its construction was started in 1978 and lasted 6 years.

The TV tower started its work on 15 January 1985.

Main task of the building is TV and radio broadcasting. Its signal covers Tashkent region and part of Syrdarya region, as well as southern area of neighbouring Kazakhstan.

TV tower provides communication to some ministries and departments, as well as commercial establishments.

In addition, complex station of high observations under the Uzbek hydro meteorological centre operates here.TV Tower is beloved place for romantic evening walks. The restaurant is located in the upper level, where the visitors can taste European and national cuisine. Tashkent, shimmering under night lights, can be watched from viewing area of the tower.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral

Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral is a cathedral catholic church and simultaneously one of the beautiful buildings of the capital. It also performs the function of the Apostolic Administration in Uzbekistan, i.e. the Embassy of Vatican.

Famous among citizens as “Polish Kostel”, it is located across road from old Tashkent Medical Institute. Despite, it is not appropriate to use word “kostel” as the root of the word is from word “bones”. Kostels were constructed in cemeteries to conduct corresponding religious ceremonies.

On Sundays, the priests serve the Holy Mass in English, Russian and Korean. It is also possible to come here to pray every day, except Mondays.

 

Construction of Catholic Church was started in 1912. It was the initiative of the priest Justin Bonaventura Pranaitis. Famous Ludwig Panchakevich was architect of the building. After their death, Boleslav Rutenis guided the construction works.

Initially, catholic soldiers, who were serving in Tashkent, worked at the construction site. Later, war prisoners joined them and among them were experienced engineers, gifted sculptors and bricklayers.

After October revolution, construction of the church was suspended. Its purpose frequently changed. Unfinished building was used as dormitory and warehouse. Offices of various enterprises also located here. Over this time, the building started to ruin, while internal attire were taken as souvenirs.

In 1992, Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan handed over the building to Catholic parish in Tashkent. Afterwards, the reconstruction works started. Kshishtof Kukula directed his efforts and energy to the reconstruction of the church. In 2000, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral was sanctified.

It is architectural-historic monument of Uzbekistan. Due to its unusual gothic style, it is beloved place for wedding photo sessions.

Palace of Prince Romanov

One of the unusual monuments of Tashkent is the Prince Romanov residence, built in 1891 in the center of the city, under the project of architects A.L. Benoit and V.S. Geyntseltsman. This is a one-storey private residence of Nikolay Konstantinovich Romanov, who was a grandson of Emperor Nicholay I, and who was exiled by his royal parents to Tashkent in 1877 to live there until his death in 1918.

The Prince Romanov’s residence was built in “modern” style, trendy at that time. The elegant building was richly decorated with carved grids, unusually shaped windows, towers and other decorative elements. The duke was a keen hunter that is why the front entrance to the private residence was decorated with bronze figures of deers and hunting dogs. While at the back side of the building, there was a large garden, laid out by the famous Tashkent botanist and pharmacist I.I. Krause.

Particular attention was given to the interior design of the palace. The halls of the private residence were lined with dark oak, decorated with carved cornices and golden paintings. From the main hall, the three doors led to the apartments of the prince and his wife. The residence left side housed a billiard room, library, dining room, while the right one – a greenhouse and a Japanese garden. In one of the building wings, the Russian prince arranged a menagerie to keep wild animals, harbored in the localities at that time. On Sundays the menagerie was open to the public.

Nikolay Konstantinovich was extremely popular in the local community. He opened the first cinema theater in the city and a bakery, built a ducal soldiers’ suburb in the city’s center, laid irrigation canals in the Golodny Steppe. During the years spent in Tashkent, Prince amassed a unique collection of antiques and books, later bequeathed to the city.

After his death, the building housed the Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan, then Museum of Antiques and Jewelry of Uzbekistan, and in Soviet times it was used for the Palace of the Pioneers. At the end of the XX century, the building was restored and is now used as the Reception House of the MFA of Uzbekistan.

Holy Assumption Cathedral Church (Uspensky Cathedral)

Holy Assumption Cathedral Church (Uspensky Cathedral) belongs to Russian Orthodox Church and is located near Northern railway station.

The building of Panteleimon Church was built under the hospital cemetery in Tashkent in 1871. Six years later, construction of the building of the temple began. Citizens generously donated for its construction. Governor-general of Turkestan Konstantin Petrovich Kaufman also helped to its construction. He contributed 3,000 rubles – a large sum at that time. Merchant of the first guild Dmitry Zakho, however, made the largest donation. Then he became a churchwarden.

The temple was consecrated in honour of the great martyr and healer Panteleimon in 1879. After Soviets came to power, the building was used as a sanitary storage. After the end of World War II the building was returned to Orthodox Christians.

At this time, the church received the status of the cathedral of the Tashkent Diocese and consecrated in the name of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the middle of the 20th century, it was rebuilt and its area significantly grew.

Reconstruction

The bell tower with the domes was reconstructed in the end of the 20th century. The surrounding area was expanded and improved. Exterior and interior of the temple has become richer.

On 10 November 1996 Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II conducted service in the cathedral. In 2014, the decision on construction of another temple of Luke was adopted. The temple will be used mainly for the funeral of the deceased.

Life at the church literally boils. Orthodox Church often holds various fairs. Miraculous icons and relics from other parishes are brought to the church on regular basis. Life-giving fire is delivered with special flight from Jerusalem on Easter night.

Republican Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Alisher Navoi

Republican Theatre of Opera and Ballet was named after medieval poet Alisher Navoi. The theatre has changed its name several times since premier of the first Uzbek opera “Buran” on 11 June 1939.

Its history started a little bit earlier. In 1929, professional theatre was launched. Legendary People’s Actress of USSR Tamara Hanum headed its dance troupe. She danced, singed, played and produced dances. She received the Stalin Prize of the second level.

In 1948, after it joined to Tashkent Russian Opera Theatre named after Ya. M. Sverdlov, the theatre was named as the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Alisher Navoi. World-famous opera “The Queen of the house” and “Eugene Onegin” and the ballet “Don Quixote” were staged in the theatre. The repertoire gradually was enriched with the works of Russian and Western European classics, as well as national composers.

Earlier, the performances were stage at Circus “Coliseum”. It was constructed in line with the project of Georgian architect G.M. Tsintsadze in 1902-1913. Both scene and acoustics of “Coliseum” were not designed for performance of opera and ballet. In order to construct the building, the state level contest was held. The winner, Academician Aleksei Shchusev and the author of the mausoleum on Red Square enthusiastically started to work. The architects designed each of the six side foyers with the unique own style. Tashkent, Bukhara, Khorezm, Samarkand, Ferghana and Termez once had own architecture traditions.

Khazrati-Imam complex

The architectural complex Khazrati Imam (also spelled Khazrati Imom, Khazrat Imam, Khast Imam, Hast Imam, Khast Imom, Hast Imom) is the top Tashkent historic site and Islamic center, consisting of Barak-Khan Madrasah (also spelled Baraq Khan), Tilla Sheikh Mosque (also spelled Tillya Sheikh), Muyi Muborak Madrasah, Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum (also spelled Kaffal Ash-Shashi, Qaffal Ash-Shashi), Namazgoh Mosque, as well as the new Khazrati Imam Mosque and the muftiate building (the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan or Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Uzbekistan) built in 2007.

Thoroughly restored in 2007, the historic buildings of the complex, with the earliest of them dating back to the 16th century, show their original splendor now. The new mosque featuring traditional Islamic architectural elements adds to the grandeur of the site.

The complex was named after the 10th-century Islamic scholar, one of the first and highly esteemed imams of Ash-Shash (Tashkent’s former name) Abu Bekr Al-Kaffal Al-Kabir Ash-Shashi (also spelled Abu Bakr Al-Qaffal Al-Kabir Ash-Shashi). He was famed for his immense knowledge of the Koran, Hadith, and Islamic law; his writings were an outstanding contribution to Islam. He also wrote poems and songs, some of which survive, and was a master locksmith besides (hence they nicknamed him Kaffal ‘locksmith’).