“Gagarin was there! “: Inside the struggle for the inheritance of Tashkent

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The city of oblivion

In this seemingly ordinary building not far from Tashkent’s central Amir Timur Square, Gagarin’s visit was a momentous occasion for residents – and residents still remember today.

Indeed, these memories are part of what makes this place special: the events of the past, the lived experiences of the inhabitants, the green space shared in the closed courtyard and its multicultural composition.

This three-story building, built in 1936, houses various nationalities and ethnoreligions – Jews, Koreans, Russians, Uzbeks and Ukrainians – who share a common space – the courtyard, where children play, adults sit and chat, plant flowers and pick. occasionally for a barbecue. There is an eclectic community spirit behind the enclosed courtyard, with its collection of tall trees, plants, an empty pool, and a play area.

There are places and there are spaces. This Soviet-era building – a lived-in space that carries a legacy and life experiences cherished by its inhabitants – may not be seen as something of historical value to city authorities keen to sell the land to profit, but it is these spaces of meaning that make up Tashkent’s cultural fabric, its narrative.

Once these pieces of mosaic have disappeared, there is no more memory, no more heritage. There will only be emptiness and oblivion.


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