Moment I: Foundation for a Soviet Tashkent in 1930s

The capital of Uzbek Republic was relocated from Samarkand to Tashkent in 1930, allowed redesigning the architectural landscape of the capital city. As similar to other Soviet-republican cities, it needed to be injected with appropriate Soviet imagery and iconography, and rehabilitate.

Fig.1 Plan of Tashkent Old Tashkent City and New Russian City

In 1920s, Tashkent was divided into old, webbed with twisting roads, and new, radial baroque European style city (fig.1). To unite the the separated city and disparate citizens of colonial Tashkent into one single landscape under Soviet social order, was the first challenge for Soviet Architects. In 1936, renovation of Red Square project to Lenin Square, allowed the space to be served as the new town’s central public space, allowing ceremonial parade and establishing the monument dedicated to Lenin. The Lenin Square has redefined the public landscape of Tashkent, as well as the legitimation of new social order of Uzbek. Sheikhantaurskaya street, had been used into the main physical and cultural link between old and new Tashkent.

In 1930s, Moscow-based Soviet architects focused to activate Sheikhantaurskaya street into Tashkent’s boulevard, a potential axis to unify whole Tashkent, aim of ‘The new content of everyday life and culture in modern Tashkent’. The street was widened, repaved and planted with trees, comparable with those streets on European capitals. As well as populated massive apartment buildings in neoclassical style of residential districts. The mission of these principle of built environment and architecture was ‘education of workers in the spirit of socialism’, create social changes and deification of Russian culture as universal Soviet nation.

While Tashkent was constrained by Russian culture, Uzbek nationhood did survive in Tashkent’s public landscape, and this ‘interactive nationalism’ that in future native elites would define Uzbek identity in opposition to the dominant Russian culture.

 

Source:

Bell, James. “Redefining national identity in Uzbekistan: Symbolic Tensions in Tashkent’s Official Public Landscape.” Ecumene (continues as Cultural Geographies) 6, no.(2) (1999). 183-213.

Meuser, Philipp. “Seismic Modernism: Architecture and Housing in Soviet Tashkent”. Translated by Clarice Knowles (English) and Dmitrij Chmnelnizki (Russian). Berlin, Germany: DOM publishers, 2016.

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