Friday 30 September 2011

The Ulugh Beg Madrasa, Samarkand

At the ancient heart of Samarkand stood the Registan square.  It still stands today, with madrasas or schools on three sides.  One of these is the Ulugh Beg Madrasa built between 1417 and 1470.  It was a place of great learning, most particularly astronomy. Ulugh Beg himself was a ruler, an astronomer and a mathematician.  At one time, 60 to 70 astronomers were working there, so to support their work Ulugh Beg also built an observatory.

The madrasa has four domed chambers and a vaulted prayer hall.  It has minarets on each corner and a magnificent portal facing the square.  Mosaics and haft rangi (seven colour) tiles cover the front of the building, arranged in patterned panels.  After the 17th century it fell into disuse and became a grain store.  Along with the other buildings in the square, it is now listed as a UNESCO World heritage Site.  You can see a picture on a Russian site of some of the restoration work being done.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday hosted on Beth Niquette's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy.

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  1. An observatory...I do wish I can see an ancient one someday.

  2. That is really nice, I'm another who would like to see it!

  3. This Near Eastern decorative art tile is fabulous!

  4. WOWOWOW ... the tile work is just amazing. Happy to hear of its restoration. Ancient astronomy fascinates me. I'd love to see it, too. Happy PFF!

  5. Amazing tile work. I like the arched openings.

  6. What an amazing tilework. I can only imagine how it was all done and the challenges faced by those who restore them now. Uzbek Sufi Muslims have a unique style of chanting/singing while in a trance.

    Postcards Crossing

  7. Such a magnificant building. Nothing like that around here. Much to new of a country. One of my friends lives in a house over 175 years and that is one of the oldest in the township.

  8. That is just exquisite. I would love to visit something like that again (we visited the Alhambra Palace in 2002).

  9. Hello,

    WAOH this is really beautiful ! I have heard about this part of world but never had the occasion to see something.

    Thanks to the PFF I'm gonna travel the world.

    Hope you'll come by mine too and travel to France for the occasion.


  10. interesting indeed and i love the architecture. visiting late,


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