From my experience (mid 2006), money exchange in Tashkent is quick and easy. Exchange offices are scattered around in town (marked “echange”…) or use most of the banks (just show an US dollar bill and you’ll be shown the way to the right booth).
In summer 2006, bills of 1000 som have been available everywhere, although quite often I had to refuse the tons of 200 som bills, they want to give you at first instance. Be firm, shake your head and show them a 1000 som bill and you’ll get what you want.
Uzbek sum do have several security features, the most obvious is the color changing print on the upper right on the non-monument side (see arrow in pic 1).
From my experience, there is only one uniform and official exchange rate all over town (which only changes according to exchange rate change), so it won’t help to look for better rates or even blackmarket.
Hotels, upscale restaurants and most of the souvenir workshops do mostly accept USD. So keep some for these purposes.
Fondest memory: ATM machines are not that much available, but as I only had cash with me, I didn’t look in particular. Hotel Uzbekistan had one, however.
I also cannot say anything about acceptance of travellers’ cheques.
One word about the USD bills: ignore whatever your bank at home will tell you – there is zero need to bring small denomination bills ! All banks do easily accept 100 or 50 USD bills.
In the picture all Uzbek coins and banknotes; from Central Bank of Uzbekistan
For all that it is a city of 3 million people, Tashkent has a lovely laid-back air. The bazaars are busy and bustling, and in the evenings Broadway is jumping (literally it can seem with the loud music the Uzbeks love) but there is shady street after street in the Russian part of the city, all but deserted of traffic much of the time and you can walk for miles through wooded parks hearing little more sound than the water playing in fountains. Chaikhanas make great places to stop and watch the world go by, for tourists and locals alike. Little boys splash around in the pool outside the Mustaqlilk Maydoni Metro and old men play chess under the trees near Temur's huge equestian statue in Amir Temur Square.
The park that runs from the Opera House Square, past TsUM and along towards Kosmonavtiar metro station is the place to come if browsing among books is one of your things - there's a book market set up there most days. If sitting back on cushioned couches and drinking tea is more your scene, check out the chaikhana in the middle of the park - with its individual airy pavilions and choice of comfy Western-style armchairs or traditional Uzbek takhtas, it's a great place to rest those sightseeing-sore feet.
Have been back to Tashkent about 4 times over the past year for work. Regarding currency exchange - any of the hotel's have a good exchange place - normally open 24hours a day - apart from meal breaks - they will even provide a box for the bricks of cash they give you. The Dediman and Intercontinenetal are the best. Also you can exchange in the Bazaar's but obviously won't get receipts for your exit. Have never come across anywhere not having enough Soum - bucket loads everywhere - the sticky bit is the quality of the USD notes - too old, or marks on them - and suddenly they have no exchange.
For cash advances - The Intercontinental and Uzbekistan Hotel have ATM's dispensing USD cash using Mastercard - with a 1% commission. The Asaka Bank (Abdulla Kakhara Street) also does Mastercard cash advances for 1% commission - very friendly there - but a little out of the way (2000 soum taxi from centre). Visa card US cash advance is possible at the UZKDB bank (formerly UZDaewoo), next to Uzbekistan Hotel. They charge 2% commission. There are a few other banks doing Visa. The remaining ATMs' around town will accept visa but give soum notes - not sure of the maximum.
One thing to be aware of is if you are using a visa or mastercard debit card - ie loaded up with cash. This is a fairly new way of carrying cash - and does not work in Uzb yet except at ATM's - not at the banks. Something to do with it not having any embossing on it.
Fondest memory: If you are short of things to do in Tashklent - particualry inteh summer - get to Bobor park - great food, entertainment and fun - lovely people - try the waterfall restaurant - ask at a hotel - this is one of the most amazing places to eat at the base of a man-made waterfall in the back streets of town; great western food at the J Smoker up near the university; and of course broadway (every taxi driver knows).
Favorite thing: Despite the size and importance of Tashkent, the airport is terrible. The customs check is old fashion, luggage claim is very small and so crowded. If you landed with few more airplanes, now the nightmare starts. The luggages are checked strictly, you need to declare how much money you carry, etc so exiting the airport becomes a real pain. It took 2 hours for me to leave the airport. Run friend run, for the front place in queue.
In 1865 Tashkent was given to the Russian Military Gouvenor by the cities Eldest. IN 1867 Tashkent became the capital of the Generalgouvernement Turkmenistan.
In this time Tashkent had about 80.000 inhabitants. There were two parts of the city: the old town with adobe houses and old mosques in the west and the modern part with rectangular streets and Russian colonial style buildings in the east.
In the severe earthquake of 1966 many buildings mainly in the old town were destroyed. Many streets and buildings were now build in Russian style, which still is the most significant style in Tashkent.
Since 1991 Tashkent is the capital of the independant Republic of Uzbekistan.
Tashkent was already mentioned in a Chinese script of the 1st century B.C. Well, they used another name, but scientists are sure, that this city was located where today's Tashkent is. Many people say, the name "Tashkent" means "Stone City". But Tashkent has been a city of adobe houses most of its history. Today scientists say, that the word Tashkent comes from the word "tschatsch" in the Sogdian language, which means "a hilly place".
Tashkent was Turkish until in 8th century the Arabs conquered the city. 1220 Genghis Khan took the city. A time of quarrels between the Khans of this area followed. in 16th century came a time of wealth under the rule of the Schaibanide Khans. Trade and art flourished.
After the fall of the Schaibanide Dynasty Tashkent was under the influence of Kazakh Khans and later was part of the Kokand Khanat until 1865.
Tashkent has more than 2 mill inhabitants. It is the capital of the Republic Uzbekistan. Its wealth and importance comes from the ideal location. It is the HUB for most airlines going to Central Asia. Major trainroutes cross in Tashkent: to Moscow (3360km), to Novosibirsk (2630km), Turkmenbashi (1864km) and Duschanbe (1069km). Of course already in the times of the Big Silkroad Tashkent was a center of trade and cultural exchange. In a way you can say, that Tashkent is located at the old border between an area of nomadic people and settled urban population.
Today Tashkent is still an important city of trade and industry. The first university in Centralasia was founded 1920 in Tashkent. Now the city has about 30 science institutes, 18 universities, 30 colleges, 200 libraries, 11theatres and more. since 1999 Tashkent also has an Islamic University. There are also many museums, a zoo and a botanical garden, which are worth a visit.
It is a pity, that Tashkent always looks a bit underrated compared with the famous cities of Smarkand and Bukhara.
Les scientifiques estiment que Tachkent existait il y 25 siecles, des premieres colonies rares jusqu'a la megalopole moderne avec ses immeubles de haute taille, les avenues populeuses et le flot des automobiles. Quand dans la nuit tu arrives ves la ville, la lueur des feux occupe la moitie du ciel. Tachkent est mentionne dans " A vesta" et dans les sources anciennes chinoises. Elle est nee dans la vallee de la riviere Chirchik, a la frontiere de l'oasis et de la steppe comme un lieu de rencontre entre les agriculteurs et les eleveurs du betail, la population sedentaire et les nomades.
The scientists estimate that Tachkent existed him there 25 centuries, of the first rare colonies until has the modern megalopolis with its buildings of high size, the populous avenues and the stream of the cars. When in the night you happen to ves the city, the gleam of fires occupies the half of the sky. Tachkent is mentioned in " A vesta " and in the Chinese old sources. It is born in the valley of the Chirchik river, has the border of the oasis and the steppe like a place of meeting between the agriculturists and the breeder of livestock, the sedentary population and the nomads.
Asia has long been the birthplace of conquerors of the world. One of the greatest of these was a man who commanded both fear and respect in Asia and Europe during the fourteenth century: Tamerlane. This name, by which he was known in Europe, is actually a corruption of his name in Persian, Timur-i-Leng, meaning "Timur the Lame." The word Temur is Turkic for "iron": it was an appropriate name for the man who, in his lifetime, rose from being a prince in a small Turko-Mongol tribe to become the ruler of an expanding empire that stretched from Delhi to Anatolia. His life was, in the words of one modern scholar, "one long story of man, who centralized three parts of the world: the south, the west and the east."
Fondest memory: Un des remparts principaux de l'Etat dans cette région est Amir Temur. Dans la deuxième moitié du XIVème siècle, il unifia et créa un Etat puissant avec sa capitale, Samarkand. En 1380 Amir Temur effectua des campagnes militaires dans d'autres pays. Par la suite il conquis l'Iran, la Caucasie, l'Iraq, la Syrie, la Turquie et l'Inde du nord.
La création de l'Etat centralisé en Mesopotamie d'Asie Centrale nommee Moveranakhr, l'élimination du morcellement créèrent des conditions favorables pour le developpement de l'économie sabotée par des Mongols. Grâce a l'énergie politique d’ Аmir Tеmur les instituts de la direction d'Etat, sociale et militaire furent perfectionnés. Les développements de la science, l'architecture, l'urbanisme, la litterature, les arts plastiques et appliqués a l'époque du règne de Тimour et de ses heritiers furent un phénomène unique à l'échelle mondiale.
Some websites will give you further reading and information. Some are of travel agencies, but they still have a lot of interesting information.
In my opinion the best website about Tashkent anyhow:
Sairam Tours - Tashkent
Travel Agency Orexa
Dolores Travel website
Fondest memory: .
and :-) of course:
make sure you read what Leyle of the WanderingCamels wrote about Tashkent .
She was the one who “brought” me to Uzbekistan and Tashkent with what she wrote here on VT.
A recent conversation with a friend led me to the idea to make a short summary of opening hours and prices, to give you a rough overview of the costs you can expect for Samarkand. This all is as of summer 2006 and my travel style, which involves basic to medium accommodation and two meals per day plus snacks. And of course, visiting the sights.
But as I did spend more days in Tashkent than most of you will do, I reduce my calculations to a stay of 1 1/2 days (1 night).
mostly from 9 am to 5 or 6 pm on “normal” days. Expect different hours for Fridays, as this is the “Sunday” in the Islamic world. In Tashkent, a lot of museums are closed or have shorter opening hours on Tuesdays.
Travel expenses – for 1 days plus 1 afternoon/evening – per person:
Accommodation costs (1 nights): 15 USD (including breakfast);
Food costs: 20.000 sum (equals 15 USD), this includes one upscale dinner.
Snack and water costs: 5 USD;
Costs for visting sights including camera fee:
well, as the fees vary upon what you chose, I can’t calculate. Museum of Fine Arts is 3000 sum + 4000 sum camera fee.
Transport from Tashkent to e.g. Samarkand in shared taxi: seat 10 USD)
Transport from Tashkent to e.g. Khiva by plane: 60 USD.
Now how many days should you plan for Tashkent ?
As I mentioned in the beginning, Tashkent holds many tresures, if you only allow them to be discovered. Just some of the museums are worth a visit or plan at least one or two additional days. Best upon arrival, as it will teach you a lot about architecture and Uzbek art.
Let me give it a try and list the sights and time needed in my opinion:
Museum of Fine Art should be a must, as it is well displayed and explanatory – minimum 2 hours.
Wandering around on the bazaars and buy some delicious food would roughly take 1 hour, given the big size of the main bazaar.
Doing some gift shooping and walking around Timur Park would add another hour.
You should try one of the upscale restaurants (if this is your like) or the more charming food stalls in parks or the bazaar.
And end your evening with an opera performance. I didn’t do it (no idea why, maybe my brain was just too mashed in the heat), but will do next time. Read what Leyle (of WanderingCamels) wrote about her pleasant opera evening.
Well, this could be roughly be “done” in one day, evening and overnight stay included. But… but… but…it will not be enough to discover the hidden charm of this capital.
Decide yourself :-)
Tashkent is a huge city, so walking from A to B is not the best option. But with the excellent metro and bus service, you can move around very quick.
The city did grow a bit weird, a lot of different neighbourhoods did develop and expand here and there, to be eventually combined to what is Tashkent today. Also 2 very big and very much destructive earthquakes in 1966 did destroy much of the city, so a lot had to be rebuilt.
The old town is located northwest of Chorsu Bazaar and the modern centre around Timur Park (east of Chorsu). Streets run in all direction, no real “logic” behind that. Some bigger avenues however can be defined and draw a kind of triangle through town for easy reference (see photo 3, where I added these streets to my GE Metro map).
Fondest memory: Ko’chasi stands for street in Uzbek and square would be maydoni.
Navoi Ko’chasi runs east-west roughly from the bazaar to near Amur Timur Park (photo 2). Circus’ blue cupola (photo 1) can be used as western reference, from where Furgat street leads to the Palace of Peoples’ Friendship and goes over into northwest-southeast Babor street. This one meets with southwest-northeast Rustavelli, which eventually ends as Shahrisabz street at Timur Park.
Or look at the map of Tashkent
I place this under “General”, as it is more than just a sales office.
Uzbekistan Airlines city sales office is a very convenient place, as it does also have an exchange office.
Of course you can get all your national (or international or CIS) tickets here. It is a tiny bit complicated or better buerocratic, but well….. First you have to go to a ticket counter, tell where you like to go. The girl will write down a payment note, which you have to bring to the separate cashier to pay. Then bring back your payment note with verification stamp of your payment, and you will get your ticket.
But the personnel is both helpful and efficient. However, not much English spoken.
Exchange office is right hand side after entrance.
Flight map of Uzbekistan Airlines
Fondest memory: The sales office is located at the big crossing of Rustavelli and Konaev - opposite of Hotel Mir (Hotel Mir - see picture)
Attend a performance at the Navoi Opera - it is fascinating to see this part of late 19th century's Europe (although the building was made by Japanese prisoners of WW2 after 1945) here in the heart of Asia. But it is questionable how long it will persist, because the Russians leave the former Central Asian Soviet Republics and try to infiltrate into Western Europe or the Baltic States - a part of Westen Europe, too, of course - instead. But other than in the Baltic States (which had a tragic symbiosis with Russia for some - not only Soviet - times, too, Russia has not made any positive civilisatory impact there - other than in Central Asia, where all existing 'modern' acheivenments are due to the Russian/Soviet influence.
Fondest memory: The Chorsu market and the performances in the Navoi opera - as the two extreme landmarks of that what Tashkent is.