Registan became the central square of Samarkand in the 14th century. The word 'Registan' can be translated as 'a sandy place'. Earlier there flowed a canal forming sand and silt deposits. Six streets crossed at Registan. In the time of Temur the square was used as a commercial and craft center and Ulugbek made it a spiritual center. Ulugbek constructed a majestic madrasah and Sufi khanaka with a huge dome. By the 17th century old buildings of Registan had been in collapse and the governor of Samarkand Yalangtush-biy built Sher-Dor madrasah instead of Ulugbek's khanaka and later Tillya-Kari Madrasah.
Registan Square, Samarkand
tours of Samarkand
, both group and individual ones, focus on Reghistan square and use it as a starting point.
The square was made the center of Samarkand in the time of
. Here the heralds were announcing the will of the ruthless Warrior King to the sound of huge copper drub (djarchi
). Here public executions were arranged; beginnings of war invasions and successful endings of military raids were celebrated. The triumphant Emperor and his army were marching through the square on their way from conquered countries with uncountable treasures, flocks of captured slaves and heads of enemies stuck upon long spears.
Three gorgeous madrassahs are located here.
The first to appear and the most important as educational institution was the Ulugbek Madrassah, built in 1417-1420. In its two floors of 50 dormitory cells lived about 100 students. Beneath the little corner domes were lecture halls, and a large mosque was located in the rear. One of its graduates was Jami, the famous Tajik poet. According to some data, Ulugbek himself was teaching mathematics here.
Sher Dor Madrassah
In two hundred years, a vainglorious Samarkand Ruler Yalangtush by name decided to build two other madrassahs, of bigger size, even more luxurious and richly ornamented in order to outshine previous rulers. Sher Dor Madrassah (Madrassah with Lions) was built in 1619-1636. Despite religious bans, it was rather daring and unusual for that time to depict fabulous tigers and sun-like faces on the huge portal. Presently colorful folk-shows are held here.
Tillya Kari Madrassah
Tillya Kari Madrassah (Decorated in Gold) was built in 1647-1660. In addition to the educational function it also served as a Cathedral Mosque. The spectacular inner gold-leaf decoration of the mosque produces an absolutely breath-taking impression.