On March 25, the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan issued a decree designating about 157 mosaic panels in Tashkent and the country’s regions as objects of monumental art, listed in the national register of real estate objects of tangible cultural heritage.

Earlier, in August 2023, the Scientific and Expert Council of the Agency of Cultural Heritage approved a list of 161 mosaics and panels for inclusion in the national register. However, not all mosaics in the country are covered by this decision.

The decree aims to facilitate the comprehensive study, preservation, and responsible utilization of mosaics, panels, and fine art pieces, while also enhancing their role in bolstering the country’s tourism sector.

These registered mosaics will be integrated into the state cadastre, with cadastral documents duly noting their cultural significance.

From now on, any activities conducted on the buildings, within their protected zones, and on adjacent territories must receive prior approval from the Agency of Cultural Heritage.

The majority of the listed mosaics are located in Tashkent, with additional ones originating from Nukus, Urgench, Khiva, Samarkand, Namangan, Andijan, Jizzakh, Kokand, Angren, Gulistan and several other districts.

For years, both the public and individual activists have advocated for the preservation of these mosaic artworks on buildings. In Tashkent alone, numerous mosaics on residential buildings have been painted over during recent repair works, while many on high-rise structures are concealed by large advertising banners.

Building cover in cement and (partially) cleaned.Building cover in cement and (partially) cleaned.

In 2022, public indignation halted the painting over of mosaics on several buildings near the capital’s Hokimiyat. By then, workers had managed to coat substantial areas of the nine-story buildings with cement, requiring manual cleaning.

The Chilanzar district hokimiyat (regional governance office) stated at the time that the decision to “repair the facades” of the houses was made by the city kengash (council) of MPs.

In 2018, we reported on the restoration of a mosaic on a residential building in Tashkent, initiated by a local homeowners association (HOA) following discontent of the residents.

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Last September, during the demolition of a newspaper shop building in central Tashkent, a mosaic panel by Arnold Gan was dismantled for relocation. The preservation campaign was led by Alexander Fedorov, founder of the Tashkent Modernism project. The Art and Culture Development Foundation of Uzbekistan announced an open competition to select a new location for the mosaic.

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In 2020, Gazeta.uz published an article by tour guide Aziz Khalmuradov on the toponymy of Tashkent, describing the capital’s unique mosaic panels, including those that have since been lost.