Essential Architecture-  Uzbekistan

Registan Square






The ensemble consists of three Madrassah: Ulugbek Madrassah (15th century), Sher – Dor Madrassah (17th century) and Tilla-Kari Madrassah (gold covered)(17th century).


Islamic Timurid


variety of stone and brick


  Registan Square Plan
During centuries Registan Square was the center of Samarkand. The word Registan means “sand place”. There was a river running there many ages ago, before building the first Madrassah on the square. Years passed, the river dried out and left lots of sank there, that was the first place where the first Madrassah was built in the beginning of the 15th century and named Registan square. As the Madrassah was first built, all the holidays, parades, festivals and Sunday bazaars took place.

The ensemble consists of three Madrassah: Ulugbek Madrassah (15th century), Sher – Dor Madrassah (17th century) and Tilla-Kari Madrassah (gold covered)(17th century).

Madrassah– is the Muslim high educational institution. Only the boys from reach families studied there. The training lasted for 10, 12, 20 years. It was up to the discipline the student selected. The main discipline for all of them was Learning Koran. The rest of the subjects were not obligatory and could be selected by students.

The Ulugbek Madrassah was built by the Ulugbek’s order and guidance. It lasted only three years from 1417 to 1420. When the medresse was constructed, Ulugbek gave lectures on mathematics and astronomy till his death.
Two years later, the ruler of Samarkand Yalangtush Bahadur ordered to build the copy of the Madrassah, and the second Sher-Dor Madrassah was built opposite it. The only difference was that it had two more winter teaching halls, but the main structure was the same as in Ulugbek Madrassah.

Several years later, the same ruler of Samarkand ordered the third Tilla-Kari Madrassah. It’s outward is the same as those two other medresses, but coming in you’ll see a one story building. To make the architectural ensemble, the architecture made two floors on the outside but only one inside. Madrassah was always built by one project – four-cornered yard with four terraces and cells along the whole perimeter. The main entrance was always locked with lattice and two other entrances were used by purpose. The doors in cell were always low because “Islam” means “obedience”, that is why everyone who entered or went out of cell always had to bow, it was like greeting and wishing health to everyone.
Only Tilla-Kari Madrassah was bult like medresse, but was used mostly as mosque; just looking at minarets can see this, Tilla-Kari has low minarets to call people to pray.

In 17th century Till-Kari mosque and Madrassah was the biggest mosque in Samarkand. Right up to 19th century Madrassah and Madrassah-mosque was used by purpose, and only from the beginning of 20th century till now they serve as monuments.
“Eden of Ancient East”, “Precious Pearl of Islam World”, “ Rome of East”, “Rui Zamin”-“Face of Earth”-with such magnificent names poets, historians, medieval geographers of Iran, India, China, Byzantium, Egypt called Samarkand.
Even though of such magnificent description Samarkand saw many sites of fire and destructions, which left their sign in history.
During centuries Samarkand was gained by different nomadic and half nomadic generations, which always were destroying, sacking, and leaving ruins after them.

Samarkand saw three the largest tragedies.

1. The first ine is related to the time of Aleksandr Macedonian’s gains in 329 year BC; the city was fully destroyed, citizens were exterminated. After reconstruction of the city there was a development of different crafts, the east and Greek cultures mixed together, and this left its sign in the history of Samarkand.

2. The second tragedy is related to 8th century, when Arabs were gaining the Central Asia. Stating from 8th century Islam became main religion in Central Asia. Before that time there were different religions in Central Asia but the main was zoroastrism. And only Arabs with sword and fire, destroying people brought new religion Islam to Central Asia. And till now it is still main religion here.

3. Third tragedy is related to 13th century, when Chigiz han was gaining the central asia. When the city was destroyed, Samarkand ame to the new decline. And only in 14th century when Timur came to the power Samarkand was reconstructed. 14-15th centuries are called the Renaissance because Timur brought scientists from each aggressive crusade. In particular he was assisted in development of different sciences in Central Asia.

Samarkand reached the highest level of development only during Timur’s government, though he is described as cruel gainer in history. All this was happened because during 35 year he brought with him mathematicians, astronomers, architectures, and musicians from his aggressive campaigns to his country.

Architectures from many countries participated in the construction of many monuments. Various décor, and picture of rising sun with lions chasing after fallow-deers is the illustration of it. It is not allow illustrating animals and people in Islam. But Sher-Dor medresse is decorated exactly with pictures of animals.

What is concerned about decoration of the whole ensemble, here it is possible to see the difference in designing of tympanums of every medresse. If in Ulugbek medresse cable is often repeating, but in 17th century medresse no picture is repeated because it was prohibited in that time to repeat the pictures in architectures work. Geometric, letter design, and crockets were used in designing.