Buildings, etc

Arcade Corner, Samarkand Registan

Arcade Corner, Samarkand Registan

Registan Entry Arch

Registan Entry Arch

Summer Mosque, Khiva

Summer Mosque, Khiva


Iwans are tall spaces open on one side, with a colonnade. The open side faces north for cool shade in the summer.

Bukhara Iwan

Bukhara Iwan


There is a forest of columns in Khiva’s Juma (Friday) Mosque, over 200 of them. They date from the 10th or 11th c to a couple of years ago. When a column deteriorates, a local family is assigned to replace it, so none are identical.
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To columns rest almost on a point using a metal collar with a joint of horsehair for flexibility and to deter termites.

During the 19th c. period of the Great Game, Russia tried to keep the corrupt emirs of Khiva and Bukhara in check, and built them palaces out of town to keep them safe – or keep them away. These complexes express the spirit of the times, mixing a pastiche of the “east” with that of the “west”. In Khiva, for example, a parlor ceiling was decorated with paintings of naked “lovers”, by an artist who clearly never drew people, let alone naked bodies, and had no access to live models.

Emir Summer Palace, Bukhara

Emir Summer Palace, Bukhara

White Ballroom, Summer Palace

White Ballroom, Summer Palace


But building for themselves, the Russians did better, e.g. the (relatively) small residence of the Grand Duke Romanov in Tashkent.
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The travel books and others have nothing good to say about Soviet building or about Tashkent. Much of old Tashkent was leveled by a major earthquake in 1966, and rebuilt Soviet style, but it is a major Central Asian metropolitan and not all bad, a leafy oasis with many parks. The old apartment superblocks get individualized as time goes by, as they are all over Uzbekistan. Soviet modernism left many distinctive structures behind.

Tashkent "Broadway"

Tashkent “Broadway”

Tashkent Park

Tashkent Park


Tashkent

Tashkent

Nukus Apartments

Nukus Apartments


Soviet Era Granary

Soviet Era Granary

Since independence Amir Timur is replacing Lenin, and instead of Social Realism there is a new wave of monuments, with nationalist/ historical references. Tinted reflecting glass is taking the place of modern exposed concrete, and the new buildings are symmetrical and simplistic.

Tashkent Teachers Academy

Tashkent Teachers Academy

National Poet, Alisher Navoy

National Poet, Alisher Navoy

Park Entrance, Tashkent

Park Entrance, Tashkent

Shopping Mall, Nukus

Shopping Mall, Nukus


The “public way” is in disarray. Crumbling or no sidewalks everywhere, even in the affluent villa neighborhood around our hotel in Tashkent. Manholes have no covers. Deep open ditches, as wide as 3 feet, separate the sidewalks from the streets and fill up when it rains. There is precious little sidewalk lighting on residential streets, so the open ditches are real leg breakers.

Sidewalk in Tashkent

Sidewalk in Tashkent

Rainwater Ditch, w/ Open Sewage

Rainwater Ditch, w/ Open Sewage

Sidewalk in Bukhara

Sidewalk in Bukhara


A driver has to be equally alert, because the paved streets are filled with potholes. If drivers seemed to be wildly swerving in the cities, they are not drunk, only trying to avoid the worst potholes. Intercity roads and highways are no better for the most part.

A Samarkand Turn

A Samarkand Turn

Rough Ring Road, Samarkand

Rough Ring Road, Samarkand

Road to Shakhrisabz

Road to Shakhrisabz


Natural gas is distributed to homes in exposed pipes elevated along sidewalks, leaving them vulnerable, and here are walls under construction, with diagonal logs serving as reinforcement against earthquakes.

UZ_SUMA_6206 no earthquake here

No wonder, the fate of the architect was always in question. Old stories have the architect, accused of dallying with Bibi Khanoum (Amir Timur’s First Wife) in Samarkand, or conspiring with the competition to build a taller tower in Bukhara, growing wings and flying to Mecca to escape the wrath of the Emir. If only we all could.

Mosque Contstruction, Ulug Bek Museum

Mosque Contstruction, Ulug Bek Museum

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