During my travels to different cities, I'm always interested in exploring architectural landmarks that stand out among all the other buildings typical of the region. One example of such a structure is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Tashkent. Today, I'll tell you about how this unusual landmark appeared in a city known for its ancient mausoleums and majestic madrasas.
How to Get There by Metro
The cathedral is located a 20-minute walk from the "Amir Temur xiyoboni" and "Hamid Olimjon" metro stations. Along the way to the cathedral, travelers will encounter not many interesting sights, so it's feasible to take a bus or taxi.
According to the cathedral's website, it is open for visits from Tuesday to Saturday from 14:00 to 17:00. Entrance to the cathedral is free.
A Bit of History
Many readers might wonder how a Catholic cathedral ended up in Tashkent. Historians of the city explain that there was once a significant number of Polish Catholic diaspora members in Turkestan. By the end of the 20th century, nearly 25 percent of the residents in the new part of the city were Catholics.
Construction of the Catholic cathedral began in 1912. The work continued for five years, but at that time, the cathedral never opened its doors to the citizens. It is mentioned online that for a long time, the building served as a warehouse and dormitory. Restoration of the structure began in the 1980s, with plans for the main hall to become a concert hall, but this idea was later abandoned, and in 1991, the building was handed over to the faithful.
The building looks quite impressive; according to the project, its height is 40 meters. The grandeur of the religious structure was supposed to be complemented by 23 sculptures up to two and a half meters in size, but unfortunately, none of them have survived to our time.
On the day of my visit, there was no one inside the building, allowing me to examine the details of the main hall peacefully. Like other cathedrals, the interior of this church is adorned with vibrant colors. It's worth noting that even when visiting outside of religious services, appropriate attire should be observed.
Even if you come on a day when the entrance to the cathedral is closed, you can stroll around the complex. I would recommend doing this on a sunny day to enjoy the vibrant stained glass windows of the church. Not far from the entrance, there is a small garden with colorful roses blooming in the summer.
If, after exploring the complex, you want to continue acquainting yourself with unique religious structures in the city, I invite you to a virtual tour of the Tashkent Kirche—a building constructed by a member of the well-known Benoit family.
Have a nice trip!