Located close to the center of Tashkent city, Hamid Olimjon Square is the home of the metro station that goes by the same name. It’s also home to a particular group of buildings that divide its onlookers. A total of eight old Soviet-style apartment blocks stand defiantly in a half circle, separated by a tree-lined busy highway. Are these tired-looking blue-tiled buildings a relic of Soviet art and construction? Or an eyesore on the horizon of a fast-developing city?
Viewing these buildings from a distance at night time, you’d be forgiven for mistaking them as fancy new apartments or office blocks. Illuminated with alternating stripes of colour each evening, they’re certainly eye-catching from afar. Viewed up close and during the day, however, these 19-story tower blocks do look aged, especially amongst the backdrop of the newly constructed apartments nearby.
During the day time, a steady flow of students, office workers, and street cleaners keep their paths busy. At night time, the courtyards in front of the buildings come to life with children on scooters and couples playing table tennis, unaffected by the perpetual honking of cars that is typical of Tashkent.
How long these buildings will last is anybody’s guess. Ironically, being built to last, these older Soviet-style buildings are trusted much more by some of the older generation. “At least the plumbing systems work!” our landlord reminds us.