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Notes on the Geography of Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian

In 1887 the Central Asian Railway opened a station at Kagan, or New Bukhara.  Call it Globalization Knocks.


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Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 1

Between Bukhara and New Bukhara the Emir Abdul Ahad in 1895 built a palace in anticipation of a royal visit that never happened. The architect was Alexei Benois, who also designed the Romanov mansion in Tashkent.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 2

The Palace That Never Was is a fusion of architectural styles from the East and West.  Here's the entrance hall built for the czar. 

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 3

The walls are decorated with paintings of European Russia.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 4

There's a ball-room, too, though the floor, stage, and ceiling are all Soviet-era modifications.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 5

The other end of the building is in a completely different style.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 6

Here's the emir's entrance.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 7

The emir's office.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 8

The building has had various incarnations since 1920, mostly as the property of the railway administration.  Perhaps that explains the spartan furnishings.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 9

Which style dominates?  The local wins on trim, but the nuts and bolts are imported.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 10

A more modest case of Russification, here's the iconostasis of the Orthodox church in Kagan.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 11

More recently, Bukhara has filled up with Soviet-era housing.  The city has four new housing areas or rayons, each built for 40,000 people.  Each of the four is composed of four microrayons, of 10,000 people each.  And--you can guess--each microrayon is composed of four large apartment buildings. Since the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the apartments have been sold to their occupants.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 12

Another example of Soviet-era housing.

Uzbekistan: Bukhara: Russian picture 13

Salaries are very low: a young university graduate working as an examiner for the Central Bank is considered well off with a monthly salary of $70.  That's more than twice the minimum wage for government workers.  Still, free markets make rich people, and on the outskirts of town a car dealer has built himself this palace.

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