One Slice of Old Tashkent

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit an older part of Tashkent, the Hazrat Imam Complex (sometimes written as Khast Imom Square) with a few embassy colleagues, including our ambassador, led by local historian, author, scholar and inventor Boris Anatolevich Golender.

The trip was organized by the PLP (Post Language Program) and was conducted all in Russian, so unfortunately I probably missed some of the names and significance of what we saw. I gamely tagged along, listening and trying to balance a wish to understand everything with a stronger urge to just let it all wash over me. There were also some areas and items where photography was not permitted; in the meantime reading my Lonely Planet and Brandt guides has helped me fill in some of the gaps.

The main mosque on this square is the largest mosque in the city, and contains sandalwood columns from India and dark green marble from Turkey. The interior of its blue-tiled domes are adorned with genuine gold leaf.

We also saw the Muyi Muborak Library, which is said to contain a hair from the Prophet Mohammed himself. The library displays many rare manuscripts, including Korans in dozens of languages (it was amazing to see Korans translated into Swedish, Urdu, Portuguese, and Thai, just to name a few.)

The library also purportedly contains the world’s oldest Koran, which is stained with blood of Caliph Uthman who was reading it at the time of his assassination in Medina in AD656. This Koran, sadly now incomplete, was produced just 19 years after the death of Mohammed. It was written on real deerskin and is now displayed in a glass-fronted vault. Attendants roamed alertly around the platform, halting us from photographing this beautiful piece of history and the gorgeous dome above it. I tried to commit it, and everything in the museum, to memory.

In an ironic and frustrating twist, all of the smoke detectors in the museum needed their batteries changed, beeping intermittently as we moved from room to room, the only harsh sounds in such a tranquil place.

On the western edge of the square, visitors can see the Al-Bukhari Institute (once called the Nomozgoh Mosque), one of the few Islamic centers that was permitted to operate during the Soviet period. Currently more than one hundred scholars study there.

During this day, I experienced: wonder, at the beauty and cultural significance of things we saw; embarrassment, at disrupting the prayerful ambiance of apparently barren or widowed women while we gaped around sites (I took my cues that it was OK from our local guides who indeed, seemed to think it was OK, and the reactions of the faithful which seemed to support this); carsickness, while riding from place to place; and delight, at our late lunch of plov with lamb, quail eggs and raisins, topped off with a cool beer.



DSC_0002 DSC_0008

DSC_0010 DSC_0012 DSC_0014DSC_0018 DSC_0019 DSC_0020 DSC_0023 DSC_0024

  4 comments for “One Slice of Old Tashkent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Dark Passport

A record of worldwide travel

Train to TBD

American expat life in Switzerland

Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

What's Up With Tianna?

A Millennial's Musings of the World.

Life in a State of Wanderlust

"Not all those who wander are lost..." --J.R.R. Tolkien


Traveling Fashion Designers 🌼

Adventures With Aia:

A senior project travel blog

hello stranger

stories on adventure, and travel, and real life


Stories from a mid-west girl in Macedonia

Nina Boe in the Balkans

This blog does not represent the US government, Peace Corps, or people of North Macedonia.


Live well & Enjoy.

Den's Blog

This is what life is like when you don't do things the easy way.

Audrey is (a)Broad

A Humorous and Factual Repository.

Audrey is (a)Broad

A Humorous and Factual Repository.

Emma & Nathan's Travels

Our worldwide travels beginning in the year 2017

Latitude with Attitude

Exploring the World Diplomatically

try imagining a place

some stories from a life in the foreign service

Teach Travel Budget

Personal Finance for English Teachers Abroad

The Next Dinner Party

So raise your glass

Bag Full of Rocks

My rocks are the memories from different adventures. I thought I would just leave this bag here.

Carpe Diem Creative

A soulful explorer living an inspired life


Time for adventure

Trailing Spouse Tales

My Life As An Expat Abroad


My thoughts.

Wright Outta Nowhere

Tales from a Serial Expat

from the back of beyond

Detroit --> Angola --> Chile --> Cambodia--> India

anchored . . . for the moment

the doings of the familia Calderón

I Think I'm Going to Like it Here

A little drama every day. ~Dramababyabroad


Wanderings & Wonderings

The Multicultural Marketer

Inclusion Isn't Optional


two humans, one cat, and our lives together in West Africa

travelin' the globe

my travels, my way. currently exploring eswatini and the rest of southern africa as a peace corps volunteer

Collecting Postcards

Foreign Service Officer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

a rambling collective

Short Fiction by Nicola Humphreys

Enchanted Forests

This Blog is about discovering the magic of forests in every aspect of life from a small plant in a metropolis to the forests themselves


Chimping around the world!

The Unlikely Diplomat

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls. – Anais Nin

Countdown To Freedom

A blog about health, the keto diet, weight loss, family, relationships, travel & love!

Let's Go Somewhere

A life well-lived around the world.

Cu Placere

Joyce Hooley

Ben East Books

citizenship | literature

%d bloggers like this: