Ulugh Beg Madrasa, Samarkand
Built between 1417-20, Ulug’bek Medressa is one of Central Asia’s oldest medressas. Other than most of the other medressas in the other ancient cities, the pishtak (= entrance portal) is huge; with x m it nearly comprises 2/3 of the front itself. The two minarets at the side are slim and tall and do not serve as towers for the muezzin’s call, but as an architectural necessity: they have to absorb (hold off?) the huge horizontal push (shear) of the massive portal. Note also the different caps of the minatret – they are flat and decorated with very colourful muqanas (see picture 5, although this is of a minaret of opposite Sher Dor Medressa).
Inside, Ulug’bek Medressa opens up to a courtyard with four iwans and two storeys of students’ cells in very symmetrical and harmonic tileworks. The whole western side of the medressa is taken up by a winter mosque.
Today, the basements’ cells host traders with all kind of souvenirs. I didn’t buy here (as I was travelling to Tajikistan and the Pamirs, thus was limited with my luggage contents), but a young couple I met told me about good quality, service and prices of a trader who sold ceramics (they bought a set of tea pots).
Walking around in the courtyard, you’ll certainly notice the group of bronze statues in the southern iwan: Ulughbek and other scientists gather around a globe. A nice reminiscence to the building master, his profession and the impact he had on todays’ astronomy. However, I don’t have the slightest idea of when the statues have been made and if they were alsways standing here (see pictures 1 and 4).
Ulugbek Madrasah was built between 1417 and 1420. It's main entrance is constructed in the form of a huge portal and it is closed by a lancet arch with 15m bay. Over the arch there is a mosaic panel, symbolically representing the sky with five and ten pointed star.
Originally it had 50 cells where lived more than 100 students. Apart from the classical subjects that theology, here students could study mathematics, astronomy and philosopy. Before the construction of Ulugbek observatory in territory of madrasah there was a platform for astronomical observation.
As I told you apart from the classical subjects in this Madrasah you could learn about Astrology and Astronomy and it became an important center for this subjects. You can see from right to left two teachers of Ulugbek, Ulugbek himself in the middle (he is situated behind them to show respect) and two international teachers (to show the international importance of Ulugbek's Madrasah) discussing around the globe.
A highlight of classic Central Asian monumental architectural heritage. The medrese's mosaics are among the finest both for their star pattern composition and sophisticated techniques. Not only theology but a whole range of sciences were taught in this school. Legend has it that Ulugbek himself gave lectures on astronomy here.
Ulug Bey is the grand son of Timur.During the whole history Ulug bey was the most peace-loving ruler. He almost did not participate in aggressive campaigns over ruling his state. He visited other countries many times but only for learning traditions, culture, and customs of those countries. He was great scientist, astronomer, and mathematician; that is why he brought many scientists from different countries for science development in his government.
The Ulug bey Medrese was built by the Ulug bey’s order and guidance. It lasted only three years from 1417 to 1420. When the medresse was constructed, Ulug bey gave lectures on mathematics and astronomy till his death.