Real Tashkent: the pros and cons of living in the capital of Uzbekistan

Real Tashkent: pros and cons of living in the capital of Uzbekistan

Over the 2000 years of its history, the warm southern city has repeatedly received numerous migrants – and in 2022 the capital of Uzbekistan has become a new home for thousands of Russians. Ancient and modern, quiet and noisy, cramped and spacious – Tashkent is so different and many-sided that you can live here all your life and not get to know it to the end. But “Subtleties” tried to figure out how the largest metropolis of Central Asia differs from our big cities and whether it is easy to adapt to life in Tashkent.

1. Climate and ecology

The local climate is one of the main advantages of Tashkent and its biggest drawback. The sun shines here 300 days a year, in summer the temperature rises to +40 °C and above. And although the low humidity makes the heat easier to bear than in the countries of Southeast Asia or the Russian south, surviving under the merciless Tashkent sun is not easy. The hottest and calmest period in Central Asia is called chilla(“40 days”): it lasts from the end of June to the beginning of August, when even at night the thermometer does not fall below +30 ° C.

But the winters here are mild and snowless, in recent years there are practically no frosts, and even in mid-January it can be warm like in spring – up to +15 °C. The mountains of the Western Tien Shan protect Tashkent from strong winds, so it is quite comfortable in the city in spring and autumn. But the ecological situation cannot be called favorable: due to cutting down trees, numerous construction projects and emissions from industrial enterprises, Tashkent periodically ranks first in the list of cities with the most polluted air, even ahead of Delhi and Shanghai.

A cloud of dust often hangs over the city, and only after rains the atmosphere clears up so much that you can see the mountains on the horizon from the window.

2. Urban infrastructure

Two Tashkent railway stations and an international airport are located within the city and are easily accessible by bus or taxi. Urban transport – buses, minibuses and 3 lines of the oldest subway in Central Asia. In recent years, the metro has been extended to remote areas – Sergely and Yunusabad. Modern buses run along the streets of Tashkent, their fleet is regularly updated, electric buses run along some routes. But during peak hours, transport is crowded, and during the day it rarely runs, with long intervals.

An affordable alternative is a taxi: Yandex.Go and other services operate in Tashkent, you can also catch a car just on the street. The prices are humane: they will take you from the outskirts to the center for 15,000–20,000 UZS. The last tram disappeared from city streets in 2016. A project to return tram routes seems to be under consideration, but its implementation will take more than one year.

In the Uzbek capital, roads are regularly repaired and widened, new interchanges are built, but in the evenings the city often gets stuck in traffic jams. Even an ordinary autumn rain can turn into a real natural disaster and stop traffic. The trade infrastructure in the city of the Great Silk Road is well developed: from street stalls and morning bazaars with low prices to chain supermarkets and modern shopping and entertainment complexes. The social sphere does not always cope with the needs of a metropolis of 3 million: residents complain that there are not enough kindergartens in the capital, and classes are overcrowded, especially in Russian schools. But there are a lot of private medical clinics with good quality of services.

3. Prices

The biggest expense item for those who have recently arrived in Tashkent is housing. It is not easy to find it now: due to the large influx of migrants, hotels and hostels are overcrowded, and prices for rented apartments have approximately doubled since the beginning of the year. Previously, you could rent a two-room apartment for 300-450 USD, today the same option will cost 600-1000 USD, depending on the location: the closer to the center, the more expensive. It is easier to rent more affordable housing outside the capital, for example, in Samarkand or Bukhara. /sized/f550x700/5g/fg/5gfgkv5uy6wwcww0w888ss4sk.jpg” media=”(max-width: 549px)”>

Real Tashkent: the pros and cons of living in the capital of Uzbekistan

Otherwise, Tashkent prices are pleasing, and it’s even inconvenient to bargain at the bazaars – the stalls are bursting with fruits ripened under the generous Uzbek sun, and they ask for very little for them. A kilogram of grapes can be bought for 10,000 UZS, persimmons – for 8,000 UZS, apples – for 5,000 UZS, pomegranates – for 12,000 UZS. Travel by public transport will cost 1400 UZS — less than 10 rubles. Products in supermarkets cost about the same as in Russia. Salaries in Tashkent are on average low, so those who live here and work remotely or in foreign companies are in the most advantageous position. At first, prices with a large number of zeros plunge into some stupor. At the official rate, 1 Russian ruble is now worth 181 Uzbek soums, and 1 dollar is 11,180 soums. To quickly convert local thousands and millions into rubles or dollars, you can simply divide the price by 200 or 10,000.

Tashkent is a generous city: on Fridays, some bakeries distribute free bread – not only to the poor or needy, but also just to everyone.

What else to read on the topic

  • 14 interesting facts about Uzbekistan and Uzbeks
  • What do Uzbeks think about Russians? 8 unexpected facts
  • Uzbek lives from wedding to wedding: 6 features of the wedding ceremony in Uzbekistan

4. Entertainment

In Tashkent, there are practically no things that tourists usually go to Uzbekistan for – ancient mosques, minarets and madrasahs, but this does not mean that there is nowhere to go and nothing to see. Colorful mahallasand the bazaars of the Old City are adjacent to modern skyscrapers, over the past few years several new parks have opened where you can get out for the whole day with the whole family, and lovers of secluded walks will love the Botanical Garden with centuries-old plane trees, swamp cypresses and other rare plants from around the world. The capital regularly hosts film festivals, interactive exhibitions, lectures and other cultural events, theaters and museums, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Hospitality in Central Asia is an immutable, though unwritten law, a guest is a messenger of God.

5. Local residents

The main advantage, which almost all visitors unanimously say, is the residents of the city. Hospitality in Central Asia is an immutable, though unwritten law, the guest is the messenger of God. Here, with understanding and without judgment, they reacted to the influx of migrants from Russia in March and September 2022, they try to support the newcomers as best they can – someone feeds them free breakfasts in the hostel, someone helps them find inexpensive housing and work, and practically everyone is ready to support with a kind word, something to suggest and advise. Those who have lived in different countries believe that moving to Tashkent is one of the softest options for emigration: the warmth and friendliness of Tashkent people help them quickly adapt to a new place and feel at home.

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