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The Registan was the heart of the ancient Samarkand. The name Registan means "Sandy place" in Persian.

The Registan was a place of public executions, where also people gathered to hear royal proclamations, heralded by blasts on enormous copper pipes called dzharchis.

The three madrasahs of the Registan are: Ulugh Beg Madrasah (14171420), Tilya-Kori Madrasah (16461660) and the Sher-Dor Madrasah (16191636). Madrasah is an Arabic term meaning school.

Ulugh Beg Madrasah

The Ulugh Beg Madrasah has its imposing portal with lancet arch facing the square. The corners are flanked by the high well-proportioned minarets. Mosaic panel over the entrance arch is decorated by geometrical stylized ornaments. The square-shaped courtyard includes a mosque, lecture rooms and is fringed by the dormitory cells in which students lived. There are deep galleries along the axes. Originally the Ulugh Beg Madrasah was a two-storied building with four domed darskhonas (lecture room) at the corners. The madrasah was one of the best clergy universities of the whole Moslem Orient of the 15th century. Abdurakhman Djami, a prominent poet, scientist and philosopher studied there. Ulugh Beg himself gave lectures there. During Ulugh Beg's government the madrasah was a centre of secular science.


Sher-Dor Madrasah

In the 17th century the ruler of Samarkand Yalangtush Bakhodur ordered the construction of the Sher-Dor and Tillya-Kori madrasahs. TheSher-Dor (Having Tigers) Madrasah was designed by architect Abdujabor. The decoration of the madrasah is not as refined as that on the 15th century - "golden age" of Samarkand architecture. Anyway, the harmony of large and small rooms, exquisite mosaic decor, monumentality and efficient symmetry - all these put the structure among the best architectural monuments of Samarkand.

Tilya-Kori Madrasah

Ten years later the Tilya-Kori Madrasah was built, the name means "Gilded". It was not only the place of training students, but also it played the role of grand mosque. It has two-storied main facade, vast courtyard fringed by dormitory cells with four galleries along axes. Mosque building is situated in the western section of the courtyard. The main hall of the mosque is abundantly gilded.


The ancient trading dome Chorsu is situated right behind the Sher-Dor. Now it is well restored. The existence of the trading dome at this place confirms the information that Registan was medieval Samarkand's commercial center and the plaza was probably a wall to wall market. During the Soviet era, the site was restored, which included digging down 3 meters to its original level to expose the buildings' full height.

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