Tashkent dispels any romantic notions and Silk Road mental imagery you might be carrying with your suitcase. Think instead of slipshod Soviet era construction being rapidly torn down and replaced by more modern architecture, and college co-eds who might sport the latest fashions or the most traditional hijab.
In alleys behind its famed Chorzu Bazaar you make way for bakers hauling traditional breads fresh from their ovens in what seems like squatter factories. International cuisine restaurants mix with more traditional Uzbeki fare. Sculpture greets you at Soviet-era Metro stations that glitter like gems or in the many green spaces you find throughout the city.
Rich in museums and historic monuments, Tashkent feels more like a working city offering insights on Uzbekistan today than other spots on the well-worn Uzbeki tourist trail.