Tashkent has a wide range of different museums to be explored. Some of them are already from the Soviet period, but most are new from the period of Islam Karimov. The overall quality of the museums in Tashkent is good.
State Museum of History of Uzbekistan
The State Museum of the History of Uzbekistan is one of the oldest museums both in Tashkent and in all of Central Asia. It used to be the Lenin Museum but it was later transformed into the State History Museum of Uzbekistan.
The museum was opened in July 1876 under its original name as the People’s Museum of Turkestan, initiated by the Russian scientists and enthusiasts of natural history, anthropology and ethnography. The museum contains a lot of old artifacts with over 250,000 archeological, numismatic and ethnographic exhibits and archival materials.
Museum of Victims of Repressions
The museum of victims of repressions has collected the dark pages of Uzbekistan’s history from the colonization time of Central Asia by tsarist Russia to the political repressions of the 1930s. You will be able to identify from afar the centrally located museum (East from Japanese garden) with its open mosaic patterns by its two celestial domes.
In the 1860s, when the Russian Empire made a colonial war in Central Asia, the conquerors took control over the uprisings of the people struggling for the freedom of their land. In Soviet times, after the October Revolution, the authorities destroyed not only Uzbekistan’s best minds that cherished hope for an independent state, but also those who were only suspected of dissidence.
Stalin’s regime headed the bloodiest period in the history of Uzbekistan. Thousands of people were arrested and killed, while the rest died in the camps as enemies of the people. The 1980s saw more than 800 criminal cases under what was called the “Cotton case” initiated in Uzbekistan where the people were convicted for undersupply of cotton.
Applied Arts Museum
Perhaps the best-looking museum in Tashkent is the Museum of Applied Arts which is housed in the former home of Imperial Russian diplomat Alexander Polovtsev, who was an enthusiastic collector of handicrafts. This tsarist diplomat expressed his appreciation of Uzbek architecture by having his residence built by masters from Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Ferghana and Tashkent. However, he was transferred from Tashkent before completion of his house in 1907, so he never saw the finished courtyard or verandas and reception halls, vibrant with color and wooden carvings.
The first public exhibition was held here in 1927, and it was listed as a national collection a decade later. The museum collection contains several thousand pieces of art, which fully explain the history of the development of crafts in Uzbekistan, such as chasing, jewelry, woodcarving and ceramics, as well as the original technique of gold embroidery. Furthermore, here you can find information of the ancient handicraft practices: weaving, gold embroidery, ceramics and even folk instruments. Masterclasses in all these types of applied arts are often held here.
Amir Timur Museum
Amir Timur Museum is also known as the Timurid Museum. The museum is dedicated to the Mongolian commander Amir Temur (or Tamerlane) and the history of the development of the the state controlling entire Central Asian territory during his reign, as well as his entire dynasty. Amir Timur museum contains about 5 thousand exhibits that date back to the his and his dynasty’s reign.
The museum also presents Amir Temur’s family, his coming to power, military campaigns, diplomatic and trade relations, milestones in the development of the city, education and science. There are also exhibits associated with members of the Timurid dynasty: weapons, maps, coins, miniatures, manuscripts, pottery and jewelry.
Oqsaroy & Islam Karimov Museum
Until recently, the building housing the Islam Karimov museum was one of the most closed and inaccessible locations of Tashkent for ordinary people as even the street along the residence was blocked. The museum was opened in 2017 and is located on the Afrosiab street of Tashkent and is well known under the name “Oqsaroy Residence” as previously this building was the Oqsaroy Palace, meaning White Palace and served as the working residence of the president during Karimov’s era.
It is also the place where death sentences for humans were declared. There are 2 rooms, of which the first one contains photographs of president Karimov, mainly from the official functions, while the second room has a series of wild surrealist paintings of Karimov and his wife.
Other Tashkent sights
Page updated 2.6.2021