Uzbekistan is known for its ancient cities with thousands years of history behind. Some were invaded by Alexander the Great and later destroyed by Genghis-Khan, some are less than 100 years old, some are major pilgrimage destinations of Muslim world, there’s one fading town-disaster. Among all these cities, the one stands out the most, it’s Yangiabad.
What makes it so unique? The town experienced decline in development, but managed to revive and find a new niche. Yangiabad is a very young city in Tashkent oblast, it’s located 100 km away from Tashkent, in foothills of Western Tien-Shan. The construction of Yangiabad started in forties of 20th century. The smallest town in Soviet Union happened to have the largest deposits of uranium and silver in Uzbekistan. Yangiabad was a closed, strategically important area for Soviet government. However, in eighties, deposits of silver and uranium started to wear thin. Mines started shutting down, specialists left the town, and Yangiabad experienced rapid decline in development.
Everything changed 20 years later, when Yangiabad became a popular recreational area. Dusty Tashkent with its hot climate made people seek rescue in Yangiabad. The architectural style of the city was determined by the Germans who built the town and lived there. Former major deposit of uranium in Uzbekistan looks like a little piece of Europe. This unique atmosphere of European town blends in with fresh air and picturesque landscapes.
Life in Yangiabad is very leisurely and calm; the town is occupied by the elderly mostly. Most of the houses are used as summer homes. Former mining town is also popular among hiking lovers and alpinists. It’s surrounded by Chatkal ridge and rivers that provide Yangiabad with glacial water. Some of the most interesting hiking routes start from Yangiabad.
Fortunately, largest deposits of uranium in Uzbekistan turned into a peaceful escape from rat-race of big cities.