Mirzo Ulugbek Madrasah, built in the city of Samarkand in the 15th century, is a revered religious building among Muslims that carries out spiritual and educational activities.

The oldest theological school, founded by the ruler of the Timurid state together with the scientific astronomer Mirzo Ulugbek, is part of a magnificent architectural complex. The ensemble, located on the famous Registan Square, also includes the Sheror Madrasah and the Tilla-Kari Theological School.

2001 became a significant year for Samarkand – many of its sights, including the architectural ensemble with three madrassas, were included in the famous UNESCO list.

The architecture of Ulugbek Madrasah

The building of the Ulugbek Madrasah was constructed in accordance with the Muslim rules and needs of that time. The structure itself has the shape of a rectangle 81 meters long and 56 meters wide. The facade of the building is facing east, its main element is a peshtak – a niche in the form of an arch, in the depth of which there are three entrance portals. The central entrance is made in the form of a lancet arch of large sizes, decorated with a carved window grill. Two side entrances have the same shape, only in reduced sizes. There are loggias above all three portals with a magnificent view of Registan Square.

Once upon a time, minarets about 33 meters high rose above the four corners of the madrasah building, so far only eastern towers have survived. Quite large audiences (darskhans) are located inside the building at its corners. The courtyard in the form of a square (30 × 30 m) is covered with large stone slabs. Around the courtyard stretch two-story residential buildings with small rooms (cells). Aivans located along the axes of the building divide the residential segments in two. Western aivan has a passage to winter classrooms, occupying almost the entire western sector of the structure.

When decorating the building, all the decorative materials that existed at that time were used – mosaic mosaic, glazed brick, marble, and majolica (ceramic tile). White-blue shades of tiles in combination with terracotta cladding bricks fully convey the originality and richness of oriental patterns. The entrance portals of the building and the pediments of each hujra are decorated with a multi-colored mosaic. The main entrance is also decorated with mosaics, forming a delightful pattern in the form of a starry sky, and its pylons are decorated with magnificent mosaic tiles. The architectural forms of the building, exquisitely decorated with oriental-style mosaics, put Ulugbek madrasah on a par with numerous monuments of medieval architecture in Central Asia.

History of Ulugbek Madrasah

The exact date of commencement of construction work is not known for certain. According to the inscription placed in the niche of the main entrance, we can conclude that the construction was in full swing at the beginning of the XV century. In those years, the construction of such buildings in Maverannahr was carried out quite quickly for 4-5 years. It is known that the madrasah adopted its first students in 1420, on the basis of simple mathematical calculations, it was concluded that the construction began in 1414-1415. The founder of the theological school project is considered the court architect Shakrukh, but in his works the medieval philosopher Visifi designated the architect Mohandis as the author of the plan.

In speed after the opening, the theological school received the status of an elite educational institution in which the famous scientist Abdurahman Jami, the famous poet Navoi and the Sufi theologian Naqshbandi Khoja were educated. Classes in mathematics, theology, natural sciences, and logical thinking were taught at the theological school. Lectures were delivered by renowned scholars, including Ulugbek. Since the opening of the madrasah, it was headed by Maulan Khawafi, the first mudarris (leader) was a wandering dervish with deep spiritual knowledge.

1533 год ознаменовался в Мавераннахре приходом к правлению хана Убайдулла, перенесшим столицу Узбекистана в Бухару. Самарканд, потерявший значимость, приходит в состояние упадка. Но, в отличие от самого города, духовному училищу Улугбека удалось сохранить статус престижного образовательного заведения стран Средней Азии. За период властвования Бахадура, проводившего кардинальную реконструкцию площади Регистан, духовное училище подверглось капитальному ремонту. Правильные, четкие пропорции здания были взяты за основу проекта строительства нового образовательного заведения впоследствии названный — Шердор.

During the turbulent times of the reign of Khan Abulfeiiz, accompanied by popular uprisings and civil wars, the external facade of the building was badly damaged. In the historical chronicles of the 18th century, the Samarkand historian Tahir noted that the Bukhara ruler gave the order to dismantle the second floor of the madrassah, fearing an attack from the rebels, for whom the high walls of the building could serve as a springboard for shelling his residence.

A strong earthquake that occurred at the beginning of the 19th century thoroughly damaged the building of the religious school, turning its walls into ruins. The restoration of the madrassah, which began in the twenties of the XX century, lasted for seventy years.

How to get to Ulugbek Madrasah in Samarkand

Bus stop “Zoological store” on the street Registan, No. 41, 73, 92; rest “Dagbitskaya St.”.