One of my favorite activities when visiting a large city in the former Soviet Union is checking out the Metro system. The well-preserved Metro system in Tashkent, Uzbekistan did not disappoint.
I have visited Soviet Metro systems around the former CIS world, including Baku, Kiev, Moscow, Minsk, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi and Yerevan. I love the ornate attention to details and palatial grandeur of many of these stations. Surely, Metros are meant to be functional rapid transport systems but I love that Soviet metros are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The Metro is dirt cheap in Tashkent, about 20 cents for a ride (at black market rates). Each station has a manned booth in which you can purchase plastic blue tokens that are used to access the Metro system.
Ben and I spent about 30 minutes traveling to a handful of stations near our hotel. Each one was unique. The rail cars are old, but have been outfitted with security cameras…a small reminder of the authoritarian Uzbek state.
And all the stations had that smell, a sort of musty smell that anyone who has ridden a Soviet Metro can attest to. That’s one of the joys (and at times, horrors) of traveling — the smells of the world.
Here are some pictures–
The only station I regrettably missed was Kosmonavtlar, a station dedicated to Soviet space travel which included mosaics of Sputnik and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.