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Tashkent

The Uzbek capital of Tashkent is a vibrant, fascinating city that is quickly becoming famed for its cosmopolitan lifestyle and friendly, multi-ethnic population. Many are drawn in by this northeastern city's intriguing history; it was once flattened by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, only to be rebuilt on the back of the nearby silk trading route. More recently in 1865, it was invaded by the Russian Empire, eventually becoming independent with the rest of the country in 1991. Walk round the city today and you'll find numerous historic reference points, such as the numerous Persian Mosques standing alongside Soviet-style office and housing blocks.

Although not jam-packed with many obvious tourist attractions, passing visitors are often charmed by the quaint idiosyncrasies Tashkent seems to offer. Take, for example, the ancient mud-walled maze of houses that will render your map all but redundant, or the pulsating live shows lining the city streets after dark. Popular activities include tours around the beautiful Islamic mosques, each as impressive as the next. There are also a wealth of interesting day excursions which can be made from central Tashkent.

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Jay Tindall was amazed by Uzbekistan's cultural diversity, its 2700-year old history and its mosques, markets and friendly people.
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