In the Soviet Union when a city grew to a population of over 1 million the government built a metro system. And they didn’t do it by halves. The Soviet metro systems are the most impressive in the world (in my opinion) and the smooth efficiency of the trains, complete with countdown timers, rivals any public transport I’ve ever taken in Germany.
Tashkent’s metro system was opened in 1977, the first in Central Asia, and each station is designed around a particular theme, often reflected in the station name. The stations also house bunkers and are considered military installations, as a result there was no photography allowed in the Tashkent metro stations until June 2018.
But you can now freely take a camera and click away until your heart’s content on the Tashkent metro. Touring the Tashkent Metro was unexpectedly one of our favourite things to do in Tashkent and was an awesome budget backpacker activity! Here’s everything you need to know to have a great day out exploring the historic Tashkent Metro System.
Tashkent has three metro lines. The oldest is the red line which was the original metro line when it opened in 1977 and has the most stations (12). The blue line opened in 1984 and the green line in 2001.
If you’re short on time it makes sense to stop at the interchange stations as they have two halls which means you get to see twice as much in just one stop. They’re also some of the most impressive stations.
The metro system runs between 5 am and midnight and trains run roughly every 5 minutes on each line.
Cost of the Metro in Tashkent
A metro tour of Tashkent is a brilliant budget activity and mixes history, architecture, art and local life. The cost of this brilliant day out? 12c! Yes, that’s right, a token for the Tashkent metro costs just 1200 som for any length of trip. This means that you can get on and off at each station to look around and as long as you don’t exit the station you won’t pay more than 12c!
The Best Metro Stations in Tashkent
The entire metro system consists of 29 stations and I’m not suggesting you visit them all. We visited most of them during our time in Tashkent and have made this photographic tour to show you the best stations to stop at for history and photography.
Chilantar Line (red)
The walls of this metro station are lined with detailed mosaics in the form of flowering cotton plants. Uzbekistan has one of the largest cotton industries in the world, part of the reason the Aral Sea disappeared so rapidly.
Is named after the populated district that the metro station serves as the transport connection for. The interior of this station tells a story but we couldn’t find out what it was. There are brightly coloured ceramic murals depicting scenes and grand circular chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. This is a really busy station so expect to have to stand on the train and have people in your photos!
This station name means ‘Independence Square’ and the station is built in a style of grandeur. The walls and pillars are made from marble mined from the areas around Nurata and the station is brightly lit with many twinkling chandeliers. Waiting on the platform feels like getting ready to check into the Ritz.
This station has a much lower ceiling than some of the grander stations and it is adorned with hexagonal lights fitted together to resemble a honey comb. The geometric symmetry makes this station interesting to look at although there are no mosaics or artwork.
Uzbekistan Line (Blue)
This was my favourite metro station in Tashkent. It is dedicated to all the Cosmonauts of the Soviet Union and includes metallic columns, dashing blue walls and mosaics featuring each of the cosmonauts. On the walls you can spot the likes of Yuri Gargaran and Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space).
*Fun fact* Cosmonaut and astronaut are the same thing, the first is used by the Russian Space agency and the second by NASA.
Named after a 15th century Muslim poet and the ceilings resemble a mosque. It has beautiful domed interiors with intricate patterns trimmed in gold. The walls depict images in turquoise ceramic showing scenes from the poems of Alisher Navoi. The station is one of the more visually impressive but definitely has a new feel as the construction was completed in 1997.
Gafur Gulom was a famous Uzbek writer and poet. The station name is shown in colourful ceramic with gold lettering and a quill next to it. There are also tiles on the wall showing artistic images which I assume represent part of his poems. The station was designed by the artist S. Sultonmuradov.
This station celebrates the founding of Tashkent city over 2000 years ago. The ceramic pictures show scenes of national spirit in blues and whites and the emblem above the entrance way is the crest of Tashkent ‘a city of peace and friendship’. It’s also the connection to the main railway station so will probably be a handy stop if you’re heading onwards by train.
Unus Abad Line (Green)
This is one of the newer stations in the Tashkent metro system and has a space feel with geometric patterns on the ceiling and futuristic looking lamps. The patterns are made using white and light blue and form the shapes of large stars across the ceiling.
This station was one of the most satisfyingly Soviet that we saw. Perfect symmetry with metal light fixtures and large marble pillars. The station is named after an Uzbek musician and is connected to Amir Timur station so you can see both in one visit.