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.