Traditional Uzbek houses
Today’s cities of Uzbekistan are built up with apartment and single-storey houses of different periods: starting from model and experimental houses built before and after 1966, and ending with new buildings of certificate housing, better known as “bank houses”.
But there are mahalyas (one-story districts), where traditional Uzbek houses on earth still exist. In this article you will learn about the traditional way of life of Uzbeks, and more specifically about the Uzbek housing.
During the construction of housing, the Uzbek people took into account the relief and weather conditions. Therefore, each city had its own traditions.
So, for example, in the Fergana Valley, considered to be a seismic zone, houses with double frames were erected, and in Khorezm, where there is no seismicity, houses were built with one frame. Or, for example, if in the Fergana Valley, because of the abundance of rain, clay laths (lumbaz) up to 40–50 cm thick are placed on the roofs of houses, then in Khorezm the thickness of lumbaz is no more than 10–15 cm, since here is much less rainfall.
Although in different areas the housing construction of the Uzbeks differed in some originality, there were also general principles of architecture. Old settlements usually consisted of curves and narrow streets along which houses with no windows were built, surrounded by mud walls. All windows, both residential and outbuildings, went out only into the courtyard.
In the better-off families, the premises in the Uzbek traditional house were divided into two parts - ichkari (internal), for children and women, and tashkari (mehmonhona), a more beautiful and richly furnished part for guests. Usually, most middle-income families were provided with a separate guest room (mehmonhona). The poor had not such a room. The planning of the dwelling houses of most families, which depended on the number of its members, included an aivan (shed), an utility room, a farmyard and a toilet in the yard.
The opening of the entrance door was always low, so that people entering and leaving it would bend down, that is, make a bow, as the threshold of the house is considered sacred. A light bow helped to show respect for the house, its inhabitants and the country.
The hot climate, sudden changes in temperature during the day and seasons are the main factors that must be considered when designing national housing in Uzbekistan. A building that can withstand overheating in summer and cooling in winter, and during periods of comfortable temperature, allows fresh air to penetrate as much as possible inside, perhaps ideal for living in Uzbekistan.
Of course, the traditional Uzbek houses, thanks to the accumulated diversity of architectural and planning techniques, made it possible to organize the space and create a comfortable microclimate even on the hottest days rationally. The ventilation system, sun protection and the corresponding orientation of the buildings, thermal performance, watering and landscaping of the local area - all this contributed to creating maximum comfort for all family members.
The verandahs where people rested in the summer helped to escape from the intense heat. For example, in Khorezm, the verandas were high and wide. A pool was built around each Uzbek house. Elms grew around the houses. They have the ability to cool the air.
In Tashkent, Bukhara and Khiva, depending on the climatic conditions, high and beautifully decorated summer rooms were facing north with their facade, while the winter rooms were located opposite the facade to the south.
In the past, in many Uzbek houses, sandalwood served as means of heating. It was a low square table that was placed above a small depression in the dirt floor with burning coals. In winter, a sandalwood table was covered with a large blanket, and on top it was covered with a tablecloth. The man, sitting down at the table in winter, covered his arms and legs with a blanket. Often, family members went to bed around sandalwood. In addition to sandalwood, in different areas of the country there were various means of heating. Modern Uzbek houses are heated centrally or individually. They are equipped with running water, sewage and gas. The mansions are planted round with fruit trees, vineyard and flowers.
In Uzbek families, the decoration of housing accommodation was traditionally important. Usually the floor was covered with a carpet, on which narrow quilted blankets (kurpacha) were. Usually not used kurpacha was folded on the chest or in the wall niches of the living room. And in the middle of the room a tablecloth with all sorts of dishes, fruits, sweets and always freshly baked cakes was spread out. Colorfully embroidered pillows were laid out in the sitting room; and chests with kurpacha were covered with richly embroidered suzane.
Today, most Uzbek people live in multistoried houses with all the improvements: modern plumbing, water, gas and electricity. Also one and two-story cottages with homestead lands, built mainly of baked bricks, are becoming widespread. Home furnishings, both in the city and in large villages, are mainly traditional, but the furniture consists of factory-made products of the modern type. Thus, in the design of residential premises both local and imported sets, including a variety of dishes, carpet products, telecommunications, as well as various paintings and photographs, are used.
You can see the way of life of Uzbek people, traditional Uzbek houses, if you come to Uzbekistan. In turn, our company offers tours in Uzbekistan. With Peopletravel the rest in Uzbekistan is comfortable, safe and cheap!