Written by Piney Kesting
Photographed by Stephen Lioy
In Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, the subway system offers more than practical travel. Called Toshkent Metropoliteni, or the Metro for short, it also transports passengers on a symbolic journey through Uzbek history. Each of its 29 stations was designed by an individual artist, and together they honor a pantheon of cultural heroes—writers, composers, scientists and more—as well as historic resources such as cotton and almonds. As breathtaking as they are informative, each metro station is a chapter in a story told in tileworks, murals and mosaics amid elegantly thematic lighting and architecture.