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Architectural monuments

Minaret, a symbol of East
Published: 04 november 2015

Minaret is one of the most interesting and mysterious forms of Oriental architecture. It’s a mandatory element of urban architecture and often is a symbol of the city. The word ‘minaret’ or Arabic ‘minara’ means ‘place where something is lit’, or ‘emanating light’. We are talking about spiritual light that symbolizes human soul. Minarets constructions  Most researchers consider Syria to be the place where minaret first appeared in Islamic architecture. The first minaret was with quadrangular plan and after some time it took more rounded shape. On the territory of Central Asia construction of minarets began after Islam spreading.  But before this time we can also see special towers of different types on the territory of Central Asia. They mostly were the part of the fortress wall. There were also Burji towers in each city wit...

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Emir Zindan
Published: 10 march 2015

Zindan (“zina” - "crime" and “dan” – “room”) in Persian means an underground prison. It’s the most mysterious monument of Bukhara built in XVIII century. It’s situated inside the city (Shakhristan) and consists of several wards, dungeon made of brick with a diameter of about 5 meters and a depth of 6.5 meters.   Zindan was accommodated not more than 40 people and it’s not a serious amount if compare it with population of medieval Bukhara. It means that crime rate was low at that time. The prisoners were usually debtors, criminals and condemned persons.   Punishment for the guilty   The Bukhara Khanate was the state where religion played a major role in the lives of citizens. One of these requirements was the daily five prayers. There was a special officer - Rais who kept order. He came to mosques every day and n...

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Tashkent at the end of XIX century
Published: 24 february 2015

What was Tashkent at the end of XIX century? We can know about it only from the books of travelers, had visited Tashkent at that time.   Gabriel Bonvalot, famous French traveler, had been in the city in autumn 1880. He called Tashkent as the city of Stone, mentioned that its size was the same as Paris’s. The city was divided into 4 district – dacha. Each district was also divided into many blocks, called mahallya. The name of mahallya showed the profession of local people. So, casters were living in mahallya Dargez, smiths – in Takachi and so on. There were one-storied adobe houses with flat roof in the old city. They had one feature: theirs doors and windows faced only courtyard. Traditional clothing Bonvalot noticed that local people wore traditional clothing: cotton shirt, wide and short pants and long-sleeved gown. For shoes they used soft-leather boots. Rich...

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Traditional Uzbek houses
Published: 16 february 2015

The construction of Uzbek houses formed on the weather and relief of the region. That’s why each city of Uzbekistan has its own traditions and even school of architecture. Because of frequent rain, snow and also earthquake people build houses with double wooden frame in the mountains. But in the cities there were houses with single frame.  In the end of XIX century houses were built without foundation. Saman (chopped straw) was the only foundation of the houses. The main material for walls was clay, mixed with straw and other ingredients.  The plan of the houses  The yards in rich houses were double: internal and external. Women and children lived in courtyard; the external yard was used for guests. There were the most luxurious rooms. The plan of the house depended on family members, but the main rooms were kitchen, living room, hallway, some roo...

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About yurta
Published: 05 february 2015

The main type of accommodation for nomadic Uzbek people was yurta up to XIX century. After changing to settled life (end of XIX c.) they began to build wattle and daub houses. For this time yurta used only by stock keepers for summer period. At that time each young man going to marry had to have his own yurta. According to customs of kipchaks and karluks the man without yurta couldn’t marry. Yurta for newlywed was built from white felt. But if the groom didn’t have enough money, they would use common white cloth.  Construction features Uzbek yurta doesn’t have great differences from Turkmen, Kirgiz, Kazakh and Karakalpak yurts. The main difference is in decoration and other unimportant details. So we can say that the culture and everyday life of these peoples was closely connected. Prefabricated grating was the main structure of yurta. The builders used be...

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Sardoba or medieval water storage
Published: 30 january 2015

Because of dry climate water was very important in Central Asia. It was especially difficult for caravans having gone through the desert. That’s why special water storage or sardoba was set along the caravan ways. Sardoba is reservoir for water with covered dome. To get to water travellers should walk down the stairs. Such water storage were found near rabat, caravanserai and even in the cities. The reservoir was filled with rain and melting water. Sometimes water was coming from rivers and other water source by ariks and underground canals (kyariz). Structural features Sardobas were built from Ib.c. to XVIII a.d. Later they all were abandoned as caravan ways. But some of them exists nowadays giving opportunity to learn their construction in details. Mostly sardobas were built in the area with low lands – for collecting rain and melting water. Domes with holes were also for...

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Caravanserai
Published: 29 january 2015

Caravanserai is an original public building in the Middle East and Central Asia, usually serves as shelter for travelers in cities and populated areas. There were one and two storey caravanserais. Caravanserai is of two types: open and closed. Closed form is a rectangular building with an open courtyard in the middle of which was a well. There were rooms for living and warehouse for the goods. They were widespread in IX-XVIII centuries, because this time caravan trade was especially developed. The term “caravansary” is of Persian origin. "Caravan" in Farsi means a group of traveling people; "serai" means a restroom. Caravanserai served not only as a building for temporary accommodation for travelers but there were also learned the latest commercial and political news, met with merchants from other cities and countries to conclude trade deals. Today caravanserai is a unique ar...

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Katta Langar: where time has no power
Published: 28 january 2015

The mountainous village Katta Langar is situated on the foot of the Zarafshan spine, 70 kilometers from Shahrisyabz. It is unique place with its picturesque nature landscapes. The view of this place gives a person pacification and calmness. Picturesque views are very attractive for tourists but also they are attracted by mosque and mausoleum of sufi Mahammad Sadik. More than half century ago he started to preach the doctrine, to meet his pupils and followers in this village. The mosque was built in the start of XVI century. Many years there were only praying hall and extra rooms. The building process of the mosque is unique and tourists can know many legends about it. This is one of them: when the construction was almost finished, workers had found out that they had lack of material to build the last column. The mosque was finished owing to sufi Mahammad Sadic who turned cotton bush i...

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Observatory Maidanak
Published: 27 january 2015

The definite location of this observatory is 120 kilometers from Samarkand, on the western side of the mountain Maidanak which actually gave the name to observatory. This unique place was created by astronomer V. S. Shevchenko. The location of the observatory was selected after long investigation of the area, its climate, permanently bright sky. Also this place is unique because of still air all year round. This all points help to make good and unique photos, control astrophysical objects. The one more interesting fact - Maidanak Observatory is situated between two big stations on the Earth (Hawaii and Canarias islands). The object is located 2700 meters above sea level, the best location for observatory work. The object is closed in winter because of severe climatic conditions, bad routes of supply. The common area of the object is 32 hectares, where 10 telescopes are located. The m...

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Stones of Sangijuman
Published: 20 january 2015

Nature is the best sculptor: its creations are always mysterious and unique. The wind, air and water together create real masterpieces and they cannot be unnoticed. Good example is the area Sangijuman, situated in Navoi region. Here you can see unique stone compositions made by nature. They proudly rise above the ground and have unusual shapes. Some of these boulders have big size through-holes. Local people believe if a man with sick joints passes through the hole he’ll forget about his pain soon. From tajic language Sangijuman translates “rocking stone”. Area got this name because of unique stone, which has “no weight”. His weight is more than 280 tons, but if you touch the stone – it begins to rock. Even a little child can do it. Sangijuman is an uncommon place, where a lot of people come from the beginning of spring. Some of them wants to be heal...

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Ichan-Kala gate
Published: 12 july 2013

   Ichan-Kala city (inner castle) is located in the historical centre of the ancient city Khiva. The territory of Ichan-Kala is 30 hectares. The height of the fortress’ walls is 10 metre. Darwaza (gate) were in each of the four parts of Ichan-Kala: the western gate - Ata-Darwaza are located at Kun-Ark Fortress, the north gate - Bagcha Darwaza, oriental - Palvan Darwaza and south - Tash-Darwaza.   Ata-Darwaza is the main gate of Ichan-Kala, located in the western part of the city. The gate was built in 1842 and destroyed in 1920. In 1975, they were again restored. The height of Ata-Darwaza’ door is 10 metre, its width is 4 metre. The fortress Kunya-Ark is located on the left side and Muhammad Amin Khan Madrasa is on the right side.   North Gate - Bagcha-Darwaza is a symmetrical structure in the fortress wall, its height is 8.5 meters. There are th...

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Kaldyrgach-biy (Tole bi) Mausoleum
Published: 24 june 2013

 Kaldyrgach-biy (Tole bi) Mausoleum was built in the first half of the XV century in Tashkent city. There are remains of the eminent Kazakh politician Tole bi "Kaldyrgach" that means ("Swallow"), hence the name of the mausoleum. Tole bi was governor of Tashkent since 1743 to 1749 years. Unfortunately, the courtyard and the decoration of the mausoleum are not preserved. Kaldyrgach-Byi was the ruler of Mogolistan and Khoja Ahrar’s ancestor.   A dome in the form of a pyramid is in the unique composition of the mausoleum. It is a rare design for Uzbekistan. There are four niches, brick stairs and khujdras in the hall. Small square crypt is under the main hall. The facade of the mausoleum is not lined. There is a legend that says when people find out about the Kalmyks’ attack, they began to leave in a hurry their houses, strangely enough, but Tole bi wasn’t going t...

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Tashkent yesterday and today
Published: 08 november 2012

Several administrative buildings of the century before last maintained till our days. Against the background of the modern structures they noticeably stand out. And that is most interesting, they are in a good and ideal condition. Palace of the Grand Duke Romanov (1889-1891). The palace was constructed by a famous architecture Aleksey Leontevich Benua, the building was the residence of the Great Duke Nikolay Konstantinovich Romanov. The building is constructed from dried breaks, that is why it is cool enough in summer in it. In 1917 the Museum of Arts in Tashkent was here, today it is the Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan. Then the museum was moved to another place, and now the palace is the House of greetings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan.Tashkent real college (1898). 114 years ago Tashkent real college was built by the architectures Geincelman and Maksimov. In ...

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