Tashkent started out as an oasis on the Chirchik River 2,000 years ago. (Tash means “stone” and Kent means “settlement.”) Today it is the capital of Uzbekistan and is its largest city. It was already a thriving city when it was completely destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219. Seven centuries later, in 1966, it was flattened again, this time by a devastating earthquake. 300,000 people were left homeless. Somehow, within 3 1/2 years after that, a new Soviet Tashkent was built, much of it in typical concrete block style. It is now quite a mish-mash of restored 12th century mosques, classical Russian architecture, blocky buildings, and statues of workers with bulging biceps.