The City of Bishkek from 1920 to 1980: A Memoir
Голованев, А.А. Город Бишкек 20-80 Годы: Воспоминание. Бишкек: Изд-во Плюс, 2002, 184c.

Golovanev, A. A. Gorod Bishkek 20-80 Gody: Vospominanie. Bishkek: Izd-vo Plus, 2002, 184pp.


The City of Bishkek from 1920 to 1980: A Memoir 

Город Бишкек 20-80 Годы: Воспоминание

This work examines the development of architectural conceptions and the process of construction in Bishkek between 1920 and 1980. As the title indicates, the book is a memoir. In view of this, the authors Aleksandr Andrianovich Golovanev and his daughter Natal’ia Aleksandrovna Prokhorova – both professional architects – are highly visible throughout. At different times both participated in architectural developments within Kyrgystan’s capital, and in the book they “lead” their readers through the old streets of the city, noting every detail of its design along the way.

The layout of the book is particularly interesting: on the left-hand pages photographs of old residential houses and administrative buildings are displayed, with accompanying text printed on the right side. A.A. Golovanev was a member of the USSR Union of Architects, and he took on a most active role in the construction of the capital. In this work he enthusiastically recounts the principles behind the design of Bishkek and its development history, starting from the early twentieth century.

The book’s strength lies in its geological explanations. It provides a professional description of the climatic and microclimatic conditions and seismic and ecological factors taken into consideration before constructing the city. The book also contains valuable list of reproductions of old black and white photographs. Furthermore, the authors provide the names of all those whose work in the field of urban development has not been acknowledged. They have also completed the laborious task of collecting the names of the architects and engineer-constructors from the five Soviet design institutes. 

The authors pay particular attention to the ecology of Bishkek, the development of its roads and of its transport system. 

Golovanev and Prokhorova recall the relatively recent Soviet past of Bishkek. Having read this book, the reader will be able to understand how the design of Bishkek was conceived and how its construction proceeded, and which factors were fundamental in the building of residential homes and complexes. 

Although this book was intended for students of the history of urban development, it does not include the sources used by the authors. 

Khadicha Shambetalieva 
Translated by Morgan Stark
Shambetalieva, Khadicha. '"English abstract of 'The City of Bishkek from 1920 to 1980: A Memoir'". Translated by Morgan Stark. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 45. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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