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Tashkent’s heydays are long past. Lucky to have thrived along ancient Silk Road routes, under Russian imperial administration and finally as an administrative center during the Soviet Union, that luck has largely ran out.  Uzbekistan’s largest city (and still the fourth-largest among former Soviet states), Tashkent’s buildings reflect the country’s past. And its decades of mismanagement under former dictator Islam Karimov. While plans are in place to build a massive commercial and financial center in the city’s historic downtown, Uzbekistan is unlikely to transform Tashkent into the “Dubai of central Asia.” Without the energies and resources of Moscow behind it, Tashkent’s decline is representative of many cities who decline after blue-water navigation made long over-land trade routes too inefficient and costly to continue.

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