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Well-known for its outstanding collection, Museum of Applied Arts is often regarded as one of the best museums in Central Asia. Formerly called the Museum of Handicrafts, this museum houses 7,000 samples of applied arts: handmade embroidery, skull-caps (tyubeteyka), jewelry, carpets and other examples of craftsmanship of the beginning of the 19th century until the present day.
Museum of Applied Arts: The Best-Looking Museum
Visitors will enjoy a huge collection of beautiful exhibits. Some unique collections include important items related to weddings. In Uzbekistan, bride’s dowry is believed to be able to protect the young couple from evil. Suzaine wall-hangings and variants such as oi-palyak, lunar sky, and gulkurpa, flower blanket, are admirable. Dopillar (skullcaps) are also on display. They show similarities in stitching, motifs and symbolism. Visitors will also be fascinated by carved wooden furniture. There are tables and laukhi, folding book stands, by Kokandian master Khaidarov. Regional ceramics, metalware, and musical instruments for festive occasions, such as karnai pipes and doira drums, and jewellery sets are just magnificent. Visitors’ favorites are the impressive collections of contemporary glassware and the textile rooms. In the textile room, visitors will find finished garments, carpets, hand-carved stamps, and other tools used to create distinctive designs. If you are a fan of ceramics, you will fall for this place. Ceramics, one of the oldest of ancient handicraft arts, has been produced in many parts in Uzbekistan; each region even develops its own unique features. Collections of almost all ceramics are stored in the museum depository.
The museum photographs indicate that the building façade has not changed significantly since its construction in the early 20th century. Some are still original, such as the delicate columns and the pale blue color scheme. In the main hall, visitors will be amazed at the mihrab niche; it does not point to Mecca, but in the opposite direction. The two doorways are framed by one of Omar Khayyam quotes: “The world is a great caravanserai with two doors: one entrance and one exit. Every day new guests come to the caravanserai.” The museum central hall is impressive, with an ornately carved and vividly painted ceiling. The wooden doors and their frames, the decorative pillars, and the walls are exquisitely stunning.
If you wish to take some memorabilia along, Museum of Applied Arts has two gift shops. They sell paintings, graphics, porcelain, carpets, embroidery, fabrics, jewelry, coinage, and varnished miniature by modern Uzbek masters. They may be a bit pricey compared to those on sale in some tourist streets of Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara.
How to Get Tickets?
Museum of Applied Arts tickets are available to purchase at the ticket counter. Entrance fee is 10000 sum. If you wish to take pictures or make videos inside the museum, you will be charged an additional fee of 6000 sum. Guided tour is also available for 15000 sum.
How To Get Around?
To have some tours around Museum of Applied Arts, there is no fixed dress code that you need to follow. Light fabric such as cotton is a great option. Tee or tank and shorts or jeans will make a great outfit. Wear your most comfortable sneakers or sandals as you will spend hours on foot.
What Should I Wear?
Best Time to Visit
Museum of Applied Arts is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, yet the cash desk is closed at 5 pm. It is best visited in the morning when line-ups are still short, giving you plenty of time to fully enjoy all the exhibited collection. Visitors usually spend one to two hours exploring the museum.
Will I Need a Guide?
The museum is relatively easy to explore. However, if you wish to be more knowledgeable about its superb collection, you might be interested in joining the provided Museum of Applied Arts tour; excursion is in Uzbek, Russian, English, German and French. Arts and crafts fanatics will never regret it; it is worth the price.
How To Get There?
To reach Museum of Applied Arts, several modes of public transportation are easily accessible. Taxi is surely the most convenient one; it is widely available around the city, but you will need to spend a considerable amount of money. If you are on a tight budget, consider a metro. The nearest station is metro station Kosmonavtlar; it is just 10 minute walk to the museum.
Prepare enough cash when you visit the museum. ATMs are widely available in towns and cities.