Friday, January 24th, 2003

I remembered some other things about housing that I found interesting. In Tashkent I think the majority of people live in the massive apartment buildings. I didn’t see anything that approximated your typical (or even non-typical) stand-alone American type houses. Even so, there hasn’t been money to build things in general, so what they had 10 years ago when the Russians left is what they have today. Now that isn’t totally true, but it gets the idea in your head.

Aside from these buildings, you have many (usually single story) structures lined up against the streets. Long lengths of unbroken wall, with a singe gate that leads into a compound, and hovels or shacks clustered around open courtyards. Looking at them, I can only think of this as a defensible block. The wall has no windows or openings other than that gate. Imagine an old Western fort on the plains, but it’s only a single story, and it’s dingy white bricks instead of wood. It’s hard to get much detail on the interiors, since of course you can’t in general see them, but that’s very much the sense I got from the glimpses I did have. Some of that I was able to tell from flying into and out of Tashkent, getting the aerial view made a big difference.

Out in Karshi, didn’t see any apartment buildings at all, though we skirted the city. There were scattered groups of structures. Imagine your typical American red barn, but smaller. Paint it dingy white (let’s call it concrete!) and beat it up a bit. Now a bit more. Knock some holes in the walls, and figure people are living in the bottom area. These are grouped as well, but not so much in the fortress style, though you can still see the influence.

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