The architecture of the Tashkent Metro is one of the most beautiful in the world, and it is a traditional destination for tourists and guests...
Rail: There are 3400 km (2,113 miles) of Uzbekistan railways linking Termez, Samarkand, Bukhara, the Fergana Valley and Nukus. There are two train stations in Tashkent - North and South. The Trans-Caspian Railway traverses the country from Turkmenabad in Turkmenistan via Kagan (near Bukhara), Samarkand and Jizzakh, where the railway branches off to serve the capital Tashkent.
Tashkent Vokzal, formerly the Severnay (North) Vokzal, south of the centre on Tashkent St ('Toshkent' metro station is the nearest), remains the main station for all services to or from Tashkent, following the closure of Yuzhni (South) Vokzal, further southwest on Usmon Nosir St. Whilst it is possible to arrive in Uzbekistan by rail from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan or Turkmenistan, it is not a journey for the faint-hearted or time-poor.
Far more useful are Uzbekistan's domestic rail links, the latest fares and timetables for which are detailed at www.uzpass.com. The high-speed 162 (Tashkent-Samarkand; departs 08.00 daily) and 161 (Samarkand-Tashkent; departs 17.00 daily) trains, also known as Afrosiab, were introduced in 2012 and complete the journey in 2,5 hours. Basic tickets cost around 20$ and there is a restaurant car and air conditioning. Trains 50 and 662 (49 and 661 on the return journey) also run daily to Samarkand, though the journey time can double.
Train 10 (Tashkent-Samarkand-Bukhara; departs 08.30 daily) is a good option to reach Bukhara as it has air conditioning and reaches its destination mid-alternoon. Tickets cost around 10$ each way. For the return journey, train 9 departs at 08.05. If you prefer to travel overnight, train 662 (661 on the way back) departs from Tashkent daily at 20.45 and reaches Bukhara early the following morning. Beds in two- and four-berth cabins are available, costing around 25$ and 17-18$ respectively.
There are trains to Urgench (the railhead for Khiva) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Train 56 leaves Tashkent at 17.45, stops in Samarkand shortly after midnight, and reaches Urgench at lunchtime the following day. The cheapest seats are around 10$ but given the duration of the journey it's better to have a cabin bunk if you can afford it: prices start from 25$.
Attempting to buy the ticket is likely to be the most stressful part of your rail journey. There are two ticket booths: one inside the main station to the right as you enter, and a second in the foreigners' ticket office behind the station. Sadly, the latter is often closed. You will need your passport to buy a train ticket and it is helpful if you write down both your destination and the six-digit date you wish to travel so as to avoid confusion.
Time-table of passenger train routes in Uzbekistan
|Tashkent-Samarkand||08-00||every day||10-08||every day|
|Tashkent-Karshi||08-05||Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun||13-39||Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun|
|Karshi-Tashkent||16-05||Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun||21-43||Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun|
|Tashkent-Bukhara||08-30||every day||15-16||every day|
|Bukhara-Tashkent||08-40||every day||15-26||every day|
||Tashkent-Shavat||19-30||Thu Sat Mon||13-45||Fri Sun Tue|
||Shavat-Tashkent||14-20||Fri Sun Tue||10-40||Sat Mon Wed|
||Tashkent-Kungrad||16-50||Tue Fri||14-44||Wed Sat|
||Kungrad-Tashkent||08-53||Thu Sun||08-25||Fri Mon|
||Tashkent-Urgench||19-30||Sun Tue Fri||13-05||Mon Wed Sat|
||Urgench-Tashkent||15-20||Mon Wed Sat||10-40||Tue Thu Sun|
||Tashkent-Termez||18-00||every day||09-25||every day|
||Termez-Tashkent||16-40||every day||08-40||every day|
||Tashkent-Bukhara||20-55||every day||06-37||every day|
||Bukhara-Tashkent||20-57||every day||07-10||every day|
Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!
Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°
Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia
Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.
It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.
Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.
When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you. What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full. If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately. Doing it means you want them to leave. Wow! Amazing, right?
To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot. For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's. Example: Linda-opa and David-aka. You could also use hon and jon respectively.
Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.
Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.
One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death.
Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.
You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.
Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region
Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)
Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.
Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.
Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.
If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.
Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!