There are more than a dozen theatres in Tashkent city. The largest and most famous is the Opera and Ballet Theatre, named after the great writer and developer of the Uzbek literary language Alisher Navoi.
The construction started in 1940 on the place where the main Sunday bazaar is used to be. The leading architect was A.V. Shchusev, who is famous for projects such as the mausoleum of Lenin in Moscow’s Red Square, the Kazan railway station in Moscow and the hotel “Moscow” in Moscow’s Red Square. The building also attracted famous masters of Uzbekistan, led by Tashpulat Arslankulov, a hereditary ganch carver (a kind of alabaster).
During the Second World War, Japanese prisoners of war were detained in Tashkent and were used to complete the construction. Once this goal was achieved, the Japanese prisoners were granted their freedom back.
The theatre has six halls, each of which representing different regions of Uzbekistan with traditional ornaments and carvings. Each hall was decorated by a master from this region. The project was completed in 1947.
During the earthquake in Tashkent, only the axis of one of the domes moved a little, all other parts of the building remained intact.
The opera house is a symbol of Tashkent’s theatre life. If you have time and an opera or ballet is performed during your stay, you should visit the performance. The quality of the performance, at a surprisingly low price, will delight you.