The Tashkent Metro stations are among the most beautiful in the world and is among the top attractions in the city. It was the seventh metro system in the USSR, built after the 1966 earthquake in Tashkent. The first line opened in 1977 and two more lines followed.
For years you could not take pictures of the 29 Taskent metro stations, because of its military and strategic function. In fact, some of the Tashkent metro stations are a nuclear bomb shelter as well.
Slowly things are changing and Uzbekistan understands the tourist appeal of its historical metro stations. Since 2018 you can take your camera out of your bag and snap away. The Guardian was one of the first to show its beauty to the world.
The Tashkent metro was among my favourite places to visit in Tashkent. Going underground is fun and cheap and there is so much to see in Tashkent’s metro stations. This post contains a self guided tour along the most beautiful metro stations in Tashkent.
A history of the Tashkent metro stations
To understand better why Tashkent’s metro stations are so ornate we have to go back to the times of the Soviet Union. Metro stations have always played a special role in the Soviet experiment. As cities expanded under Stalin’s rule, so did the need for a cheap way to transport labourers from A to B.
In Soviet ideology the metro stations were to be the palaces of the people representing the beauty of Soviet life. At the same time they had to be practical and efficient. Many stations served a double role as nuclear bunkers in the event of war.
The first metro system that was built was the Moscow metro. It was an ambitious project, but one that succeeded. The Moscow Metro not only transported thousands of people per day, but is still one of the most beautiful metro systems in the world. Lofty ceilings, colourful mosaics and images of Lenin, Stalin and workers still convey the Soviet values long after the revolution.
After completion of the Moscow metro, Saint Petersburg followed. This is one of the deepest metro systems in the world with Admiralteskaya at 105 meters under ground. Knowing that they could build a subway, the Soviets then decided that every city with more than a million people would get its own metro. So came Kiev, Tbilisi, Baku, Kharkiv and finally Tashkent.
Tashkent’s metro stations are quite unique. First of all, they are relatively shallow compared to the other metro’s in the Soviet Union. Second of all, the Tashkent metro stations combine Soviet ideology with Uzbek culture.
Prominent Uzbek architects and artists took part in the design. The result is a rather unique style of the Tashkent metro stations. After independence many stations changed their names into more Uzbek friendly ones. However, the newer green line still fits the Soviet Oriental style of the older stations perfectly.
Practicalities of the Tashkent Metro
The Tashkent Metro has 3 lines. The oldest line is the red Chilonzor line that opened in 1977. The blue Ozbekiston line that opened in 1984 and the more recent green Yunusobod line from 2001.
The metro is open from 5 AM till 11 PM. Trains run every 5 minutes during the day and around 10-15 minutes after 7 PM.
Cost and Tickets
At the entrance of the metro you can buy a token that looks like a plastic blue coin with the M on it for 1200 som (15 dollar cents). It is valid for any length of trip so as long as you don’t exit the station you can hop on and off the metro to see the stations.
Security is taken very seriously at the Tashkent metro. Before you enter the metro there is always a security check and security officers might search your bag. This is a standard procedure and in my experience they were very friendly. They were actually more curious where I was from and what I was doing in Uzbekistan then in the content of my luggage.
You are now free to take pictures wherever you want. However, most security officers still prefer not to be photographed.
A tour along the best Tashkent metro stations: red line
Start your Tashkent metro tour at Chilonzor. One of the first Tashkent metro stations that opened in 1977 and connected the populous Chilonzor neighbourhood with the centre of the city. The station is characterized by low hanging chandeliers and ceramic murals.
The next station of interest on the red Cholonzor line is Novza with its low ceiling full of geometrical patterns that almost look like honeycombs. It was previously called Hamza and changed its name in 2015.
We continue our Tashkent metro tour along some of the oldest Tashkent metro stations on the red line. Pakhtakhor was one of my favourites. The wall is decorated with a large mosaic of flowering cotton plants. Uzbekistan is one of the largest producers of cotton in the world. Not without controversy. There are stories of forced labour during the harvest season and the irrigation needed for the cotton fields contributed to the Aral sea disaster.
After Pakhtakhor we get to Mustaqilik Maydoni that means independence square. In Soviet times it was called Lenin square. This station on the red line is characterized by marble pillars and chandeliers. It is worth to get out here to see the beautiful relief at the entrance of the metro station.
Get out to see: Independence square & State History museum
Amir Timur Hoyoboni
The next station on the red line is Amir Timur Hiyoboni. Worth a look for its decorated ceiling. This station used to be called “October revolution” and had hammered copper sculptures with revolutionary themes. Unfortunately they were taken away after independence.
Get out to see: Amir Timur square & Hotel Uzbekistan
A tour along the best Tashkent metro stations: green line
After some of the oldest stations at the red line we will now explore two newer stations at the green Yunusobod line. Amir Timur Hiyobini is at the intersection of these two lines and connects with Yunus Rajabiy. Even though the green line opened only in 2001, the Yunus Rajabiy station looks very Soviet with its symmetrical marble pillars and metal lights.
Ming Orik is also on the new green line built after Soviet independence, but this is easy to forget. The symmetrical design with glass chandeliers and marble pillars makes it almost look the most Soviet of all Tashkent’s metro stations.
A tour along the best Tashkent metro stations: blue line
On our Tashkent metro tour we now leave the green line and start our exploration of the blue line that opened in 1984. Personally, the blue Ozbekiston line had some of my favourite Tashkent metro stations.
Ming Orik connects with Oybek. A station about the famous Uzbek poet Oybek. Above the stairs going down to the platform you will see panels with themes in Oybek’s writings.
Get out to see: Museum of Applied Arts
From Oybek station we take a small detour to Toshkent metro station that connects to Tashkents train station. The station celebrated the 2200th anniversary of Tashkent and has some beatiful blue ceramic murals.
After Toshkent head back towards Kosmonavtlar. My favourite Tashkent metro station on the blue line that is all about the Soviet space program. The ceiling resembles the milky way and the wall has medaillon murals with Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova and other famous Soviet cosmonauts.
Ozbekiston is worth a quick stop on the blue line. The glass and metall lamps are representations of cotton buds from the cotton plant.
Alisher Navoi was in my opinion the most beautiful station of all Tashkent metro stations. That’s why I sort of saved the best for last on this Tashkent metro tour. The highlight in this station is the ceiling, but also the ceramic murals showing scenes of the famous poet Alisher Navoi.
Last, but not least on this Tashkent metro tour is the Gafur Gulom station. Gafur Gulom was another famous Uzbek poet. Gul in Uzbek language also means flower and there are some beautiful ceramic murals in the form of flowers on the wall.
Get out to see: National Food in Tashkent
Fun facts about the Tashkent metro
The Tashkent metro still uses the same trains as during the Soviet Union. They are from the Soviet company Metrovagonmash. It still exists in Russia.
The number of passengers using the Tashkent metro is decreasing since Uzbekistan’s independence.
Best places to stay in Tashkent
1. Art hostel
Art Hostel is a good hostel in a nice neighbourhood of Tashkent. They have a good breakfast buffet and a swimming pool for those hot summer days. The staff is very helpful in giving tips and advice.
Nearest metro station: Kosmonavtlar (blue Ozbekiston line)
2. Top hostel
Top Hostel is another cheap and profesional place to stay in Tashkent with clean dormitories and a nice breakfast.
Nearest metro station: Buyuk Ipak Yuli (red Chilonzor line)
3. Bukhara Gold hostel
Bukhara Gold Hostel is an excellent option near the train station with clean rooms and a friendly family that runs the place.
Nearest metro station: Toshkent (blue Ozbekiston line)
Disclaimer: This self guided tour along the best metro stations in Tashkent Uzbekistan contains affiliate links. If you buy any service through any of my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These earnings help me to keep Backpack Adventures alive! Thanks for your support!
Ellis is a travelblogger from the Netherlands with over 20 years of experience as an independent budget traveller in more than 50 countries. She has a Master degree in Cultural Anthropology and Global Health with a specialization in South Asian cultures and the Caucasus.