Today our eyes are glued to minarets, domes and all the Registan monuments, the magic of all the bazaar colours even if they are surrounded and dispersed among soviet style buildings and Japanese noisy cars. They all came here. From Alexander to conquer, Genghis Khan to destroy, Timur to build monuments as well as an intellectual centre, Omar Khayyam for knowledge, the Persians and Chinese for commerce, the Russians to rule. It was Central Asia capital, economic and cultural capital. It is unfortunate to see the aggressive renovation of the communist days and the recent urge to “redesign” the city.
But there is some mitigated feelings about the city. The Old city has disappeared. Large avenues have been cut to create new green parks. The Old city has been walled out by high modern walls to screen off the real life of the people. These modest houses are slowly being renovated by individual efforts each one in his own personal style with new materials in a chaotic way. It is to be feared that the grandeur of the city’s impressive monuments will not be able to divert our attention from this. The result of the main city monuments renovation leaves an impression of diluteness in a city without soul. Scattered monuments with no relation with their immediate surroundings. Khiva and Bukhara had more coherence.