Tashkent makhallas is part of the Tentative list of Uzbekistan in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Tashkent “makhallas” (communities) are traditional quarters within the city. There are currently 505 of them, some defined by trade (jeweller’s, weavers), others by nationality (Turk, Tajik). They at least have one mosque, a tea house and a pond. Examples include historical makhallas such as Hazrati Imam, Koshtut and Guzar Boshi.
Map of Tashkent makhallasLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Tashkent is one of the capital cities that does not have its own World Heritage Site yet. Although it has a long history as a trade hub in Central Asia, much of the historic city was destroyed by a major earthquake in the 1960s. Consequently, the city today is rather modern, heavily influenced by Soviet architecture principles.
In search of their own World Heritage Site, Tashkent settled on the makhallas, historic city districts that function as cities within the city. Tashkent has multiple makhallas, but based on the nomination file it is unclear which ones are actually included in the nomination. Indeed, the nomination file would have to be fleshed out, if Uzbekistan ever tried in earnest to get Tashkent inscribed. For my day in Tashkent, I had to do some research and make some educated guesses.
I started at Ko'kcha Darvoza which is a historic makhalla located in the North West of the city. I think I passed through the neighbourhood walking from Tinchlik station to Kukcha Mosque. The mosque features a large graveyard with the beautifully restored Yunus Rajabi Mausoleum. The mausoleum is dedicated to a revered Sufi saint who lived in the 15th century.
From there I walked to the makhalla of Eski Shahar, one of the oldest and most historic neighbourhoods in Tashkent. Most visitors will come here as it features the most prominent tourist site of Tashkent: the Hazrat Imam Complex. The complex includes several buildings, such as the Barak-khan Madrasah, Tilla Sheikh Mosque, and Muyi Muborak Madrasah, which houses one of the oldest copies of the Quran in the world. Unfortunately, major construction work is ongoing just South of the complex along the "historic" Zarkaynar street. Having seen the impact on Shakhrisyabz I am not enthusiastic.
My last stop was the Chorsu makhalla, in the heart of the "old" city. This makhalla is home to the famous Chorsu Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in Central Asia. It's a short walk from the Hazrat Imam complex. Still, the bazaar didn't really feel historic.
The last makhalla I had noted down, but didn't manage to visit is Shayhontohur with the Shayhantaur Memorial Complex.
OUV is hard to tell as the nomination isn't really concrete. You would need a proper map and description to judge this proposal properly.
If Uzbekistan didn't feature Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand, the area around Hazrati Imam could be a WHS. However, it's not as stellar as the already inscribed sites. In addition, heavy reconstruction is ongoing in the neighbourhood. I am not sure that much consideration is given to preservation.
Getting There and Around
Tashkent is for most travellers the entry point into Uzbekistan. So, you will probably pass-through Tashkent on arrival and departure. In Tashkent, you can take the subway which nowadays is payable with contactless credit cards.
To continue on to Uzbekistan, you can either take trains (be early, reserve). Or fly. Note that the national airport is further out than the international airport.
While You Are There
Most visitors will probably travel on to the main sites of Uzbekistan, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva or Muynaq for the Aral Sea. If you have a little time, you could visit the Fergana valley. In addition, the Western Tien-Shan mountains are nearby, but I wasn't able to get a rewarding core zone visit (I made it though). You should arrange a tour or guide if you plan to visit.
2021 Added to Tentative List
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