CyberFair Project ID: 5901

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Khast Imam - The Fusion of Past and Future
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Tashkent International School
    Tashkent, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

6 students, ages 13-14 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on October 30, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2001, 2002, 2003

Classes and Teachers: Teachers: Aleksey Semyonov, Andrew Shelokhov; Classes: Grade 8

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Tashkent International School is located in the Heart of Central Asia –Tashkent city, the Republic of Uzbekistan. The city has a unique history and although it is located in predominantly Muslim region the city is very multicultural and comprises representatives on many nationalities and religions. The major ethnic groups of the city are Uzbeks, Russians, Koreans, Tatars and Tajiks.

Historically Tashkent was always a place in which many great Empires wanted to establish their rule. As a result throughout history Tashkent was a part of Alexander the Great, Persian, Parthian, Kushan, Samanid, Tamerlane and Russian empires. It was also a part of Arabic Caliphate, Mongol state of Genghis Khan and the USSR. In the 19th century the city was in the center of a Great Game the famous completion over the Central Asia between Russian and British Empires. In 1991 the city became a capital of independent Uzbekistan.

All of those events have left their mark in the mentality of the people of Tashkent and in its architectural heritage. People of Tashkent are very hospitable and tolerant to other cultures and customs. It is amazing to see how one city can speak two languages at the same time Russian and Uzbek, and how Western and Eastern cultures are mixed in it.

The education system in Uzbekistan allows free access to schools for children. For that reason literacy rate in the republic is very close to 100%, people of Uzbekistan like their history and respect the traditions of their land. This young country is building its future by underlining and reviewing its past and present.

2. Summary of Our Project

Tashkent city has a long 2200 years history and it has seen many hard and happy days in the course of it. At the moment this is the largest city in the Central Asia and probably the most ambitious one as well. Tashkent is building its future without forgetting the past. This unique spirit of the city has encouraged many people to write books and film movies about Tashkent and it also encouraged us to do this project in order to pay tribute to the unique place where our school is located.

We have decided to choose the Khast Imam architectural ensemble for our project because it best represents how people of Uzbekistan see their future. The monument has a lot of buildings all of which were built in different times from 15th to 21st century, and yet the whole complex represents a single architectural ensemble where all of the buildings share common design elements and common spirit. By exploring this monument we really understood how valuable it is to respect and preserve the past in order to build a prosperous future. Uzbekistan is relatively young country, and after obtaining its independence people of Uzbekistan started to recover their old traditions and history to build their national identity. One of the slogans that can be seen in the streets of Tashkent states “ajdodlarga munosib avlod bo’laylik”, which translates from uzbek as “Let our ancestors be proud of our generation”. This statement truly reflects the perception of the future by the people of Uzbekistan. Many historical monuments were restored during the independence and many books were written about our ancestors such as Avicenna, Ulugbek, Al-Xorezmiy, Alisher Navoi, Al-Bukhariy etc. The square Khast Imam was built around the mausoleum of Kaffal Shashi the great religious figure who lived in Tashkent in the Middle Ages. It was restored in 2006-2007 and to commemorate the choice of Tashkent as a capital of the Muslim World in the year 2007.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

The School is connected to the Internet, however the speed of the internet is not always good and there are days when the internet is down. At the moment ICT area in Uzbekistan is developing very rapidly and there were a lot of improvement in the services provided. For example many people are having ADSL lines at home. However still most home users of the Internet use dial up connection that limits their internet activity.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The main problem at the beginning was the lack of information available though the internet. The monument that we devoted our website to is a unique place that contains the world renowned Koran of Usman the most complete oldest Koran written on the lamb skin soon after Mohammad’s death. However because Uzbekistan is not very well represented online we had experienced difficulties with finding out the relevant information. However after we have visited the place we have got more complete and full understanding of the place and its relationship to the Uzbek community and actually its importance for the world community as well.

Another challenge that we faced was putting all of the information together and communicating it on our website. It was challenging because we wanted to give facts and our own opinions on the websites and we were very cautious about making mistakes in historical dates and facts since most of the information that we have picked up was taken from the interview with the local community representative.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

The exciting exploration of the old and new Tashkent. The future in Uzbekistan is being built though the discovery and respect of its past, its rich history and its traditions.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

During this year, grade 8 students looked at different concepts of the website development in their technology class and covered the Middle Ages history in humanities class. This project gave them an invaluable experience of exploring some of the outstanding examples of the medieval architecture and applying their technology skills to share this experience not only with other students at school, but to a wider community of international schools. Students have learned a lot about history of Uzbekistan and have acquired a deeper understanding of the community that the school belongs to. During the investigation stage students looked at many different online and printed sources and were also able to get answers to their questions from the experts of the local community. Students have understood that much of the information on history can be obtained from personal experience and not only from reading books and analyzing historical facts. During their work on the website they also benefited from working with different types of software to extend their knowledge of real life application of technology skills. During the implementation stage students’ motivation have grown a lot and they wanted to share the information with other people and create a professional website that will not only demonstrate their understanding of the values, but will also promote the historical monument to the wider community and will help people around the world to understand the ambitions of the people of Uzbekistan for the future.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

We used many different resources and learned many new skills during the course of the project. We have learned how to create websites using HTML and CSS only, and then we have learned the Dreamweaver software that helps to create websites faster and requires less coding than making web pages using Notepad. We have learned how to style the pages and add interactive elements to them like rollover images, menus, and clocks. We have used computers at school to create website. Moreover during our investigation of the Khast Imam square we used cameras, audio and video recorders, and we have taken a lot of pictures and videos to document our investigation. We later used those to develop a website and to write the informative part of the project. Also we have taken plenty of pictures and we learned how to use Photoshop and Fireworks to minimize the size of the pictures, crop, merge and modify them so that they become more suitable for the website design. We have also used internet a lot, especially to verify the outcomes of our interview with the local community representative. For the development of the project the most valuable tools were Dreamweaver and Fireworks, because they helped us a lot to make the website development easier and more enjoyable. Additionally, Fireworks enabled us to edit pictures for the website and we found it more helpful than other photo editing software.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

At first we had to arrange our trip to the historical monument so we have contacted one of the representatives of local community by phone and asked for the assistance. At first he was surprised, but when we told him about our project he became very excited about helping us and guiding us through the place. Our teachers Mr. Aleksey Semyonov and Mr. Andrew Shelokhov made an arrangement for the trip so that we could take interviews and listen about the history of the place.

We have had a lot of good times while visiting the monument. At first, when we came to the square we were astonished to see such a great concentration of historical buildings with outstanding decorations at one place, so we began picturing and filming everything. However Mr. Mansur, who was telling us about the monuments, warned that we might run out of films if we are going to picture every single detail. The other representatives of the community that we met on the way were very interested to see us and talk to us. They have wished us luck with our work and were looking forward to see positive outcomes of our work.

There was a funny association when Mr. Mansur was talking about the Barak-khan madrassa that was build by the ruler named Barak Khan, and some of us started to wonder about his relationship to the current American president.

After visiting Khast Imam, we went to local restaurant and had lunch there. We had a very good lunch there, trying different types of delicious Uzbek traditional food. Since none of us spoke Uzbek, we used body language, to show what we wanted, and we had a few laughs. It was very interesting observation for us that one does not have to speak the language in order to communicate with different cultures, but the friendly smile can serve as an ambassador to mutual understanding.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

As a part of the project we have visited the local community called “Mahalla” in Uzbekistan. One of the members of the community Mr. Mansur was guiding us through the historical places located on the Khast Imam Square. Mr. Mansur is a great lover of Uzbek history and he had told us great many interesting stories about the place. He was very pleased to see that international students are interested in the history of Uzbekistan and Tashkent in particular. Before the project we did not pay attention to many historical monuments that surround us in Tashkent, but after the project we were able to see that the city is very rich in history and it conceals a lot of secrets in its structure and architecture. Mr. Mansur told us that this place was very important not only for surrounding Mahallas, but for the entire country. It represents the will of the Uzbek people to build a democratic society that respects its past and present as well as shows the prospects for the future. Since this project will be on Internet, all people around the world will be able to see this website and learn about the Khast Imam. We hope that it will help to attract more tourists to Tashkent and Uzbekistan in general. We also want the website to send the message to the rest of the world about our community and Uzbekistan. There are many tourists in Uzbekistan, but many of them don’t put this place on their map. So our hopes are to make people realize how unique and amazing the Khast Imam square is.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

We would like to thank our helpers for this project. Mr. Mansur was guiding us through the monuments located on the Khast imam square and have told us many amazing facts about the structure and history of the buildings. It was very interesting to discover that on the main portal of the Barak Khan Madrassa, the words Allah and Mohammed were written using the medieval mosaics, and that the inscriptions made in Arabic add a very special impression about the ornaments of the building. He also told us a lot about the Koran that is located on the square and has a special building allocated for it. We also want to thank the local people who live around the square for explaining to us which feeling values the monument has for them and how it is connected to their understanding of the future development of Uzbekistan.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We have discovered a lot of new things that we did not know before. The most amazing fact was that Tashkent possesses one of the oldest Korans ever written in the world. This unique book is available to public in the very heart of the Khast Imam square. But it is not the Koran that made this place unique and exciting, but it was the mausoleum of Kaffal Al Shashi that was rebuilt and restored many times by different rulers of Uzbekistan during different time periods. Kaffal al Shashi was a very respectable Islamic philosopher who lived in Tashkent in the IXth and Xth centuries. The ensemble is built near the mausoleum and despite that the mausoleum is the central figure in the ensemble, it is located in the far corner of the square. We were also amazed to see such a cluster of Islamic buildings at one spot; there were two madrassas (Muslim religious schools), an Islamic library, Center of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan, 2 mosques, 2 mausoleums, and one Namazgoh (a mosque used only during Eid). Moreover, there is a local community center and an Islamic institute located on the square. We liked very much to see the students of the Islamic university to play basketball in traditional Muslim clothes, and also that they kept life storks in the yard of the university.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5901)

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