Tashkent was the fourth largest city in the former Soviet Union, and still bears the trademarks of being in the USSR. Rebuilt after a major earthquake in 1966, Tashkent looks and feels like a communist-era Russian town.
Today, Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and is one of Central Asia's major hubs. A cosmopolitan population of over 2 million lives in the city, which also has large Russian and Korean minority groups. The national purse has been heavily invested in Tashkent, resulting in the region's most modern city. It is also an important centre of Islamic culture, boasting the world's oldest Koran.
Another New Year celebration held all across Uzbekistan is the Navruz (also Navroz, Nowruz, and many other variations). The word ‘navruz’ means ‘new day’ in Iranian, so naturally Navruz is Iranian New Year. Held every March 21, Navruz is an auspicious event for many Uzbeks because it is at this time of year they pin hopes of revival and renewal. All over the country, families and local communities prepare sumptuous feasts for all to enjoy.
Independence Day, held every September 1, is the biggest national holiday as the entire country remembers the day when it gained its independence and sovereignty after a long era of Soviet occupation. Feasts and shows are held in many cities and towns, but it is in Alisher Navoiy National Park in Tashkent where the main event takes place. From this park, the president addresses the nation, after which performances from the country’s singers and actors take place, along with a large fireworks display.
As with any Islamic country, Uzbeks also observe Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, abstinence, and prayer. It culminates in a festival called Eid ul-Fitr, which sees families unite in large celebratory feasts. As these festivals follow the lunar calendar, dates for Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr change every year.
Tashkent has a continental climate with dry conditions year round, although some precipitation falls during the winter period. Summers are hot, winters are cold (but not extreme). Summer temperatures average around 32º C during the day, around 18 °C at night. But temperatures over 40 °C are not unheard of. Winters are on average not that cold, around zero, but occasionally temperatures can drop well below -20 °C at night. The best time for a visit are spring and autumn when warm, sunny and dry conditions are the norm.
|Avg Max||5.8 °C||7.9 °C||14.3 °C||21.8 °C||27.4 °C||33.2 °C||35.7 °C||34 °C||28.7 °C||21 °C||14.2 °C||8.5 °C|
|Avg Min||-3.1 °C||-1.5 °C||4.2 °C||9.9 °C||13.7 °C||17.7 °C||19.4 °C||17.2 °C||12.4 °C||7.2 °C||3.3 °C||-0.3 °C|
|Rainfall||54.5 mm||46.8 mm||72.3 mm||63.6 mm||32 mm||7.1 mm||3.5 mm||2 mm||4.5 mm||34.1 mm||45 mm||53.4 mm|
The national airline is Uzbekistan Airways, which has flights to neighbouring countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as connections further away in Asia, like Japan and India. It also serves over a dozen destinations in Russia among which Moscow and St. Petersburg. Frankfurt, Paris and London as well as New York are the most important western cities to be served.
Domestically, Uzbekistan Airways provides cheap flights between Tashkent and a number of domestic airports. Destinations include Samarkand, Andijan, Karshi, Namangan, Navoi (which is 45 minutes by bus from Bukhara), Nukus and Termez as well.
There are three trains a week between Moscow and Tashkent. Trains leave Moscow on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11.15pm, arriving 3 days later at 7.15 pm in Tashkent. In the opposite direction, trains depart from Tashkent at around 7pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Moscow 3 days later just after 3 in the afternoon.
Other connections to and from Tashkent include those to Ufa (3 times weekly), Tsjeljabinsk (once weekly), Kharkov (once weekly), Saratov (every 4 days) and Almaty (once weekly).
Domestic trains go to and from Termez, Samarkand, Bukhara, the Fergana Valley and Nukus.
Most services are provided on a daily basis, sometimes more.
Internationally, buses travel to most neighbouring countries, including services to Bishkek, Dushanbe and Almaty.
Cheap, reliable and relatively comfortable and fast buses operate between Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and to the Fergana Valley and further east toward to Aral Sea. Minivans and shared taxis ply the same routes, and many other routes and leave when full. They usually are faster and just a bit more expensive.
|Ali Travel & Guest House||26/2 V. Vakhidov Street||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Gulnara||Olmazor district, Ozod street 40||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Mirzo B&B||95 Sagban Street Olmazor District||GUESTHOUSE||76|
|Boutique Hotel Tashkent||110, 1st Little Mirobod Passage Street||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Grand Tashkent||Proezd 6 A. Kahhara Street 57||HOTEL||-|
You can find Internet cafés in most of the cities. The speed varies but is generally better in more popular cities and areas.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Mobile connection works in most parts of Uzbekistan and the services are cheap. There are several popular mobile service providers in Uzbekistan like Ucell, Beeline, MTS (MTC in Cyrillic), Perfectum Mobile. A foreigner can get a SIM card after showing his passport. For activating the cell phone connection a person has to be registered. Generally some vendors are not aware of the law and refuse to sell to foreigners.
Avoid data roaming as prices are extremely high.
Uzbekistan postal services are not developed as in most developed countries worldwide, but all letters and parcels are delivered (after customs check) to its destinations. Uzbekistan postal services "OZBEKISTON POCHTASI" have introduced many new services recently and level of service is increasing. EMS Falcon (company affiliated with Ozbekiston Pochtasi) can deliver letters and parcels within Uzbekistan fast.
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