Kosmonavtlar is a metro station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. It’s the blue line (O’zbekiston yo’li) out of 3.5 active lines of Tashkent Metro. Taking photos inside the exquisite – often Soviet-era – metro stations in Tashkent was illegal until June 2018. Ever since loads of photos and videos of beautiful stations have popped up on the internet. However, I’d like to draw your attention to the best one: Kosmonavtlar (Russian: Космонавтов)—or ‘Cosmonauts’ in English.
During the first 16 days I spent in Tashkent, I visited a lot of metro stations. But somehow I only found out about Kosmonavtlar a few days before we left for Samarkand. I tried to justify a trip to this metro station with Jonas just for kicks, but he wasn’t into venturing out just for a station. In order to fly to Ukraine, we had to return to Tashkent anyway. So I suggested that we’d book a hotel for our return to Tashkent within walking distance of the metro.
- 1 Video
- 2 Visiting Kosmonavtlar: Exceeded Expectations
- 2.1 Statues Above Kosmonavtlar Station
- 2.2 Finally, the Platform of Kosmonavtlar
- 2.3 Mirzo Ulugh Beg
- 2.4 Yuri A. Gagarin
- 2.5 Icarus
- 2.6 Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky
- 2.7 Valentina V. Tereshkova
- 2.8 Alexei A. Leonov
- 2.9 Vladimir A. Dzhanibekov
- 2.10 Sergei P. Korolyov
- 2.11 Programma “Interkosmos”
- 2.12 Apollo–Soyuz
- 2.13 Person. Mind. Universe
- 2.14 The First Automatic Vehicle “Lunokhod”
- 3 Good read? Consider buying me a recovered water!
- 4 Thanks for reading! Wish to share?
If you prefer video, here’s my YouTube #Short about Kosmonavtlar and a generic #Short about some metro stations in Tashkent.
On the day of visiting Kosmonavtlar station, we also had some business elsewhere in Tashkent, for which we needed to take the metro. Therefore we left our hotel Grand Art on foot and wandered to the station. Above ground at the entrance of our choosing, there is a bust of Vladimir Dzhanibekov and a bigger statue with three people, left to right: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Yuri Gagarin (?) and perhaps Vladislav Volkov (?) who is hugging Gagarin in a manly way. (I’m not 100% sure of the two guys on the right and if you know better, please comment!)
The quote by Tsiolkovsky is in a bit of a tricky font and lacks punctuation. But I managed to decipher and translate it for those who care:
“Человечество не останется вечно на земле но в погоне за светой и иространством сначала робко проникнет за пределы атмосферы а затем завоюет себе все околосолнечное пространство”
“Humanity will not remain on Earth forever, but in pursuit of light and space, at first it timidly penetrates beyond the atmosphere and then conquers the whole of solar space”
Nice. I, for one, can’t wait to penetrate beyond this atmosphere.
The drama of this statue cannot be overstated. Pay particular attention to the helpless, untethered cosmonaut floating through space surrendering to the void.
Though we didn’t walk to the backside of this statue (big mistake), I found photos of it online. Behind are hiding: my man Ulugh Beg, Icarus, and a woman holding a baby (yikes). Edited to add: I heard that she’s supposed to represent Mother Earth.
Hiding from the star that is simultaneously our favorite and least favorite one, we ducked into the shadow realms of Tashkent Metro. We bought two tickets at the counter and descended to the platform. The entrance we chose had a nice spacey art piece above the stairs, just a sample of the shine that would give me temporary relief from the pains of gravity.
We descend the stairs to the platform where we’re welcomed to the lowest amount of light allowed in a metro station without causing babushkas to tumble down onto the tracks. The first things that stand out are the shimmering pillars flanking the cloudy white pattern on the ceiling. The materials look otherworldly; it’s the kind of space futurism of the cold war, hopelessly guessing at what the bright Soviet future will look like and getting it wrong. The next thing that draws attention to itself is the shimmering gradient from a shade of light blue common in Uzbekistan to a dark hue that only looks inviting to those who are dark of mind.
The space is filled up with something to satisfy the earthlings who abhor a vacuum. Great circular medallions of grey are evenly and symmetrically spaced out to pay homage to people who will be either dimly remembered by our uploaded consciousnesses or forgotten altogether in the post-apocalyptic landscape we’re working so hard to build with every birth. From where I am standing, it could go either way.
As a person not consulted before their existence, I would want to live neither in the problematic past nor the fucked future. I am completely satisfied with my existence in this fleeting moment while admiring Soviet interior design. The practicality of this place doesn’t even matter as some rolling stock arrives and Jonas asks if I want to get on. I thought we’d discussed this.
I am where I am supposed to be; wandering my mass around an aesthetically pleasing metro platform with my neither professional-sized nor amateur-type of camera, capturing away at objects that will be looted by the poor if given the option. A platform guard looks at me while I turn my body to the side to hide my small-after-all camera. Despite the lifting of the photography ban, I am still wary of the tiny Facebook group admin hiding in the brain of anyone who wears a uniform. I do not want to have to delete photos, again.
I explore all the medallions hanging on the wall. Now continuing in a less pretentious tone, this is who they are:
After visiting all the portraits, I snapped a few more pictures before joining Jonas on the next train. After that magical escape from Earth, we had to prepare boring stuff for our flight to Ukraine.
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