Sprawling Tashkent (Toshkent) is Central Asia’s hub and the place where everything in Uzbekistan happens. It's one part newly built national capital, thick with the institutions of power, and one part leafy Soviet city, and yet another part sleepy Uzbek town, where traditionally clad farmers cart their wares through a maze of mud-walled houses to the grinding crowds of the bazaar. Tashkent is a fascinating jumble of contradictions that's well worth exploring over several days.
Like most places that travellers use mainly to get somewhere else, Tashkent doesn't always immediately charm visitors, but it's a surprisingly fun and interesting place, with the best restaurants, museums and nightlife in the country. There’s also plenty of opportunity to escape the metropolis for great hiking, rafting and skiing in Ugam-Chatkal National Park, just a 1½-hour drive away.