An Uzbek NGO has published a plan for restoring Samarkand’s Jewish neighbourhood, located in the historical centre of the city.
The Turon Academy of Sciences brought together a group of Uzbek and international architects, urbanists, and designers to work on the proposal for The Eastern Quarter, a neighbourhood that encompasses a UNESCO protected area of 200,000 square metres.
The researchers argue that this area is vulnerable to private developments. “The current system of reconstruction, demolition, and protection of the historical city centre is carried out chaotically, without any regard for its historical value, and puts commercial interests at the fore, destroying the complexity and value of the architecture,” the vice president of the Samarkand-based wing of The Turon Academy of Sciences, Farhond Ahmedjadov, said.
The experts call for a more systematic approach: focusing on restoring and maintaining the historical integrity of the neighbourhood, improving pedestrian and public transport facilities, and on the whole engineering solutions to preserve both the cultural value of the area and create better amenities for local residents.
The initiative follows a UNESCO warning to Samarkand regarding unauthorised reconstruction and demolition plans from July 2019.