At 05.23 on 26 April 1966,Tashkent's skyline changed forever. An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale ripped through the city as residents slept. Remarkably, only ten people were killed, but the quake damaged an estimated 70% of all buildings in the city. More than 28,000 were flattened completely, and 100,000 people were left homeless. The old city was worst hit due to the number of traditional, adobe brick-built structures and their close proximity to one another.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, Tashkent became a blank canvas for the Soviet Union's leading urban planners: they envisaged a model Soviet city with wide, tree-lined boulevards, public squares for parades, and hundreds of apartment blocks with workshops, canteens and nurseries where the city's populace could live, work and play together. By 1970, an estimated 100,000 new homes had already been constructed, and further areas of the city continued to be cleared to implement the planners' grand new designs. This era of building contributed the heart of today's city.