Tashkent is the capital of modern Uzbekistan, a city in the north-east of the country with a population of more than 2.5 million people, a real metropolis with a developed infrastructure. Tashkent is not as ancient as Samarkand or Bukhara, but still, its age is more than 2000 years. Tourists in Tashkent will be interested to know that the first mention of Tashkent is found in ancient Chinese chronicles dating back to the 2nd century BC. The Chinese knew this area as the Shi region, which included the territories of modern Tashkent, the Tashkent region, and the nearest territories of Kazakhstan. The Arabs in the early Middle Ages knew it under the name Shash when in the 8th century they defeated it together with ancient Sogdiana. Only from the 11th century, the toponym “Tashkent” appeared – this was the name of the capital of Shash, previously called Binkent, and almost survived during the Tatar-Mongol conquest. The word “Tashkent” literally translates as “Stone City” from the Uzbek word “tosh”, which means stone. Therefore, Tashkent is pronounced as “Toshkent” in the Uzbek language.
When the Timurids came to power, Tashkent was rebuilt. Amir Timur considered the city to be an important strategic status; all significant military campaigns to the territory of East Asia passed through Tashkent. Tashkent rulers encouraged the development of science and art. The fruits of their efforts are architectural and cultural monuments, which are now visited by tourists in Uzbekistan.
One of the most interesting monuments of antiquity in Tashkent is the Khazrati Imam ensemble, the construction of which began in the 16th century. The ensemble is named after the imam of Tashkent, Abu Bakr ibn Ismail, nicknamed “Kaffal”, which means “Castleman”. According to historical information, he knew 72 languages, translated the Old Testament into Arabic, was a scientist, theologian, and one of the first preachers of the Islamic religion. The ensemble includes the Khazrati Imam Mausoleum, the cathedral mosque, the Namozgokh mosque, the Barak-khan madrasah, and the Muyi Muborak madrasah. Students – future preachers study here. One special book, stored here, deserves special attention – the handwritten Koran of Osman – the third caliph. This is a real cultural relic, which was in Medina, Baghdad, Damascus, then was brought to Samarkand, from there to St. Petersburg and Ufa, and only then came to Tashkent, where now it attracts tourists, pilgrims, and travelers to Uzbekistan.
Tourists in Tashkent should also visit the Kukeldash Madrasah, built in the second half of the 16th century. The initiator of the construction was the mayor of Tashkent Dervish Khan, nicknamed “Kukeldash” – “milk brother”. He received such a nickname because he was the foster brother of the current supreme ruler, Khan Sheibanid. The madrasah is notable for being the largest of twenty-three madrasahs in old Tashkent. After the death of Dervish Khan, in the 18th century, his madrasah was converted into a caravanserai for passing merchants, and in the 19th century, it was used as a fortress for the Kokand khans. Today, the madrasah has been restored and serves its intended purpose: students live and study here.
In the city of Tashkent, there are many places to visit. Dozens of ancient madrasahs, mosques of different eras, and mausoleums. In addition to architectural monuments, there are historical and local history museums, picturesque parks, theaters, galleries, and exhibition halls in Tashkent. Even a simple walk through the city can impress the traveler: shady alleys, friendly multicultural population, cafeterias, and restaurants.
The outskirts of Tashkent will be interesting for tourists who want to touch history. Near the city, there are archaeological sites, rocks with petroglyphs, and preserved ancient settlements of ancient Shash. For lovers of outdoor activities, hiking in the mountains is organized, and in winter, the only ski resort in Uzbekistan opens in the Chimgan mountains.