My favorite building in Tashkent is the iconic Hotel Uzbekistan. Completed in 1974, it is an iconic Soviet-era grand building framing what used to be Lenin Square. Modern buildings are rectangular and mostly steel and glass. The hotel has a curved shape like an open book and an intricate concrete lattice. It would never be built today. It is a long way away from its heyday when it was THE hotel to stay in. People tell me that it was one of the most bugged buildings in the world.
If I was a billionaire, I would purchase and restore what is left of these hotels in the former Soviet Union and the capitals of the former Iron Curtain. They would need to be modern, comfortable, and with all of the amenities of a Hilton, Intercontinental, or Hiatt to convince people to stay there. I think the nostalgia of a bygone era mixed with luxury would be successful. I would really play up the Socialist characteristics of the building. Not a Disney-like experience, but tastefully done.
The Hotel Uzbekistan reminds me of the Hotel Jugoslavia in Belgrade, Serbia. I always thought the same thing about that hotel. My fear with the Hotel Uzbekistan is that it will be torn down because of its prime location.
Last night we took the kids to a new Asian/Japanese restaurant called Tanuki. Five years of living in Osaka, the food capital of Japan spoiled us regarding our food standards and we all judged it well below Osaka-level. We will not be returning as it was not worth the expense. It does have a good atmosphere and I hope they can improve with time.
After dinner, we went to the Hotel Uzbekistan to see the view from the 17th floor. The view is really nice as you can see, but it was a sad bar and restaurant that was about the level of a truck stop between Tashkent and Jizzakh. It definitely needs an upgrade.
I end this post with a photo of a Damas Deluxe. It is one of my least favorite vehicles common in Tashkent, mostly because of the reckless drivers that own them. It is made by the South Korean Daewoo Company. It is a cheaply made, pragmatic vehicle that is popular as a taxi or cargo transport. I was a passenger in a Damas in a drive up to the Chimgan Mountains and I felt like I was in a glorified go-cart. It struggled to go up the steep inclines. I find it funny that they have a “Deluxe” model of this car. One of the neighbors purchased on in our mahalla.