Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 3 October 2018.
(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)
As we turned up at the Registan, there was a wedding party having their photo taken.
This is the Registan without a wedding event in front. Ulugh Beg Madrassah is on the left, Tillya-Kari Madrassah in the centre and Shir Dor Madrassah on the right. Samarkand was the capital of Timur’s empire. The Registan was the ceremonial heart of Samarkand and was the place for markets, public announcements, military parades and public executions. It was in a state of ruin at the end of the nineteenth century and restored primarily by the Soviets, who pieced together all the shattered debris lying on the ground.
The dome of the mosque that is incorporated into the Ulugh Beg Madrassah.
One of the domes of the Shir Dor Madrassah.
Ulugh Beg Madrassah is on the left, Tillya-Kari Madrassah on the right. Ulugh Beg Madrassah is the oldest of the three, built 1417 to 1420 when Ulugh Beg was Crown Prince, resident in Samarkand, while his father Shah Rukh ruled the empire from Herat (in what is now Afghanistan). Other buildings in the square at the time fell into disrepair and were later replaced.
Tillya-Kari Madrassah was the last of the three, built between 1646 and 1660. The name means “gilded” and we will later see something of the interior of the mosque, featuring much gold leaf.
Meanwhile, though, here are some images from the markets inside the courtyard of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah.
The young woman’s backpack says “Golden Eagle/ Trans-Siberian Express”.
Coming out of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah now, and looking across at the Shir Dor Madrassah, built between 1619 and 1636. While public Islamic architectural art is usually abstract, we see here some of the more figurative elements that crept in in the seventeenth century. Above the entrance arch are two tigers, each chasing a deer, and carrying anthropomorphic suns on their backs.
This is the entrance steps of the Ulugh Beg Madrassah, which we are now heading into.
Through into the interior courtyard, we are now heading into the mosque.
First we have some details of the decorations…
This is a closer view of the previous image.
And now we get to wider views of the interior of the mosque, in all its gilded magnificence.
This is not a tourist walking by, rather an official or attendant.
On the left is the entrance to the mosque and on the right the minbar, where the imam climbs up to give an address.
Painted rather than gilded, not sure if this is in the mosque or on the way out.
Out in the open again, looking across at the Ulugh Beg Madrassah with the Tillya-Kari Madrassah on the right.
Ulugh Beg Madrassah.
One of the small corner turrets of the Tillya-Kari Madrassah.
A detail of one of the domes of the Shir Dor Madrassah.
A wider view.
Now inside the Shir Dor Madrassah, looking up inside one of those domes.
Top of a portal in the interior courtyard of the the Shir Dor Madrassah.
Markets in the interior courtyard of the Shir Dor Madrassah.
Final image, out in the open again.