Construction of the Tashkent Metro began two years after the destructive earthquake in 1966, with the first line opening in 1977 in honor of 60th anniversary of the USSR.
Each station has its own unique architectural features: marble, granite, glass, smalt, art ceramics, carved alabaster and other decorations. Lighting is also interesting and amazing: in some stations it creates the atmosphere of holiday ballroom, in others the space makes you feel deep within mysterious catacombs.1
Today there are 48 stations. As I mentioned in my post on Tashkent, I spent an evening with fellow traveller, Leo exploring some of them.
Often the trains were quite full (it was peak hour) - yet we were immediately offered a seat - the locals delightful and friendly, happy to help us - especially to navigate the interchange stations, which were a little tricky.
We admired each station recognising famous cosmonauts, literary figures, cotton and Silk Road history.
Although older than the metro in Almaty was easy to navigate and in 2 hours, we managed 8 stations. Without exiting we only needed the one ticket which cost 1400som - the equivalent of around 20 cents.
Photography was banned until recently as the metro stations were considered possible nuclear bunkers: therefore, military installations.
It seems nuclear war is unlikely or perhaps the change is seen as a shift away from the totalitarianism and paranoia that became ingrained during the Soviet era.
Our favourite was Kosmonavtlar Station, honouring famous Russian cosmonauts. We almost felt we were in outer space as the station has an ethereal feel.
Would you like to explore the metro a little more? Try one or both the following options:
A video below by Oscar, an Australian traveller who visited Uzbekistan earlier this year. It's about 12 minutes; the first 4 minutes covers a little of the country's recent history and you can see the Uzbekistan Hotel, at the edge of the Central Square where the statue or Timur is located. The hotel is an impressive Soviet style building now closed and set for a completed restoration. He mentions the daughter of Islam Karimov (the first and long serving president) - who lived in the hotel and was later accused of corruption - we heard these details as well.
Oscar also mentions the use of unpaid labour to assist with the cotton harvest, however our guide, Guyla, who was forced to do this while at Uni in her youth, advised us this is no longer the case.
Oscar tours some of the metro stations, however not a lot of details and the music he has selected will not be to everyone's taste.
If you prefer to peruse photos of the most attractive stations and read some details, then open Bookpacker's blog below.
Either way I hope you enjoyed discovering a little more of the Tashkent Metro. Soon I will be featuring posts on my next destination in Uzbekistan - sensational Samarkand.