The Bulldozing of Shakhrisabz

Between 2014 and 2016 much of the central heart of old Shakhrisabz, its historic bazaar and several old mahalla (residential districts), was bulldozed to create a gaping new park, leaving just a sprinkling of isolated monuments renovated to within an inch of their lives. It was a clumsy move that spurred an outraged UN to add Shakhrisabz to its list of endangered World Heritage Sites in 2016. Truth be told, Shakhrisabz is now a less interesting place to visit because of the development.

The new plaza now runs from the Ak-Saray Palace to the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, so most visitors get dropped off at the northern end, walk down to the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque and then either get picked up there, or walk or take the electric cart back.

A few empty buildings remain marooned on the western side of the plaza and are worth keeping an eye open for as you walk south.

Starting from the north, the Mulk Ashtor Mosque was built in 1904 but has roots back to the 14th century. It's just inside the old town at the end of a road southwest of the Timur statue. Heading south through the plaza you'll also pass the locked and empty Abdu Shukur Medressa on the western side, opposite the 16th century Kuba Caravanserai (now the Kuba Restaurant). Finally just south is the Chorsu market crossroads that once marked the heart of the old bazaar.