How do you live?

The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed

Tashkent can seem like a place where nothing ever happens. We are very steady, never in a rush, and we’ve been living like this for centuries. But this feeling is just an illusion. This city has its own rhythm and its own life, you just have to dig a little deeper to uncover it and to understand what our people’s lives are really like. Same as everywhere, the youth are the lifeblood of this city, and same as everywhere, here too they are very diverse. You can find them tucked away in all sorts of places but by no means are they all equally interesting.

Elvis Bar

I discovered this place after the closing of the rather peripheral but universally loved VM Bar, which used to attract thrill-seekers, bikers and basically any odd man out. The tiny Elvis Bar (not bigger than a two-room Khrushchev-era apartment) welcomed everyone and soon became filled with life. This place has its own, unique atmosphere. Here, nobody cares what you look like or how much money you've got. You can scream out Irish songs over the band playing on the stage, drink beer, talk about life or try to make your way through the crowd to the enormous queue for the one and only toilet. Here the barmen are a type all their own, they can refuse to sell you alcohol if they don’t like you, whistle to calm down a drunken crowd, or turn psychologist and give you really good advice. I prefer to visit this bar on weekdays, say Monday or Tuesday, when it is quiet and especially cozy. You can chat under the dim lights, play backgammon, or just immerse yourself in the ambiance, one that is pretty unusual for Tashkent.


When T4K opened two years ago, it became the first and, as it turned out, the last co-working space in Tashkent. All the young progressives in our capital were delighted because we were getting another place “just like they have abroad”. However, it soon turned out that very few were willing to pay just for their time there. Tashkent’s experience with anti-cafés confirms this: paying for the time spent in a place doesn’t really work for our people. And so, T4K underwent a transformation from a co-working space into a place called TChK Performance Bar, which started to attract people due to its atmosphere, with regular stand-up shows, live music performances and all kinds of workshops. Since then, every night there have been crowds, groups of friends, new acquaintances, decent drinks and nice food.


The holy of holies for all those involved in the arts in Tashkent, Mark Weil’s Ilkhom theater is an exceptional place. It has been there for many years, often changing its appearance, sometimes bending with the wind, but always moving the theatrical art of the capital forward. Today it is a place for festivals of experimental music and the visual arts, bold modern plays and poetry nights. Ilkhom is the heart of underground art. It draws widely varying audiences depending on the repertoire: good old theatre lovers, nonconformist youth, actors, artists and other Tashkent bohemians. It also has an amazing ability to exist outside the confines of the city. When you come here, you forget that you are in fact in Tashkent, forget completely about reality and routine. It always has been and, apparently, always will be breaking the laws of time and space.

Parks and public gardens

As warm weather sets in, and that’s just about year round, since summer is with us for about nine months straight, the streets of our city become filled with young people. One of the most famous parks is Kosmonavtov Square, located near the subway station with the same name. In the past, you’d see practically everybody here: bards with guitars, newlyweds, couples in love and so on. But times change, traditions shift and fade, and the number of visitors to this park is shrinking. Maybe this is linked to the growing popularity of a city oasis around the Palace of Forums in Amir Temur Square. Lately, it has been attracting more and more people. New moms with their babies, skaters, rollers and cyclists—it has a place for everybody.

Tashkent can seem like a place where nothing ever happens. We are very steady, never in a rush, and we’ve been living like this for centuries. But this feeling is just an illusion, you just have to dig a little deeper…

© Darina Solod

Darina Solod

I live in Tashkent and I am 26. I work as an Editor-in-Chief for “Voice of Tashkent”. I love to read and to communicate to people.


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