We started our travel in Uzbekistan in Tashken, the capital. I have never seen any international arrival hall like the one in Tashkent. Of course it was the normal passport and visa control, except it took a loooong time. In addition we had to fill out a form how much money in all currencies we brought inn. We had to fill out another when we left, but I would be really surprised if anybody looked at them. There was only one luggage belt and if it was not picked up on round one it was piled up. But we made it through in one and a half hour.
First stop was at a bank to exchange money, but they were out of cash. Then we tried an ATM that stood in the bank and that did not work, so Vladimir our tout leader said to the manager that it was a pity that they did not have an ATM. The manager answered angrily: “We most definitely have an ATM, Ok it is not working, but we do have an ATM”.
Taskent was not an special interesting city. The streets were wide and lined with sovjet-style appartment blocks.
The city was hard hit by an earthquake in 1966 and many hundered tousand became homeless. The magnitude of the quake is given with very different values from 5 to between 8 and 9. The reason we were told was that the Sovjet Union had signed an international agreement that they would accept international help with earthquakes stronger than 7,0, and since they did not want any foreigners they reported a figure below 7.
The old city was hard hit and all the old houses collapsed. A huge building program started in typical Sovjet style, wide avenues and ugly appartment blocks. We were told it was to types of blocks, Bresjev-blocks and Krustjov-blocks. The difference was that the appartments in the Bresjnev-blocks had 20 cm higher ceiling height.