ICH Journey > Historic


#registan square #bibihanum mosque #traditional market #gur emir #madrassa #madrasa #observatory #oral art tradition #calligraphy
    Intangible Heritage

    Doston, the story of heroes

    Songs from generation to generation

    Doston, Uzbekistan’s oral art tradition, is a lyrical epic that has been passed down over the centuries. Doston is in the form of a narrative, story, adventure, description or praise, and various forms of Doston have been passed down from traditional and universal perspectives.

    The epic story of the hero Alfomysi is an oral masterpiece with more than 40 versions, reflecting the ancient mythical imagination of a people. The heroic epics from the tribes are that it shares the theme of different peoples uniting to fight against the enemies, ultimately achieving victory and restoring peace.

    The singing method of the Uzbekistan Doston singers is classified by region; singing from the back of the neck along with the traditional drum accompaniment is the method of the Surkhondarya-Qashqadarya region while singing with a natural voice accompanied by Tors, Doiras and Bolamans is characteristic of the Horezm region. Among the local methods of the Karakalpakstan, Bakshi singers sing romantic Doston songs accompanied by Karakalpakstan Dutars and Ghijak, while Jirau singers perform epic poetry to the accompaniment by Kobiz.

    World Heritage

    Bibihanum Mosque

    Hero love and legend

    Among the many heroes who have passed through Samarkand, Timur the Great is the representative of this beautiful city. Amur Timur unified the whole of Central Asia in the 14th century and built a massive empire that spanned Central Asia, the Arab Empire, Asia Minor and India. Amur Timur, who was the'last ruler of the great Eurasian powers' following Alexander- Genghis Khan, revived the Silk Road, allowing the advanced science of China and Islam to flow into Europe, and promoted cultural exchange between East and West. The Great)'.

      Timur the Great built a great mosque in the heart of Samarkand, worthy of the emperor's fame and imperial majesty.




    World Heritage

    Islamic Architecture at a Glance “Gur Emir Mausoleum” Where Amir Timur slept forever.

     Gur Emir was a complex space where Timur the Great's most beloved grandson Muhammad Sultan tried to build an Islamic educational institution, Madrasa, and Honako, a residence for the Silk Road. But in 1403, when Sultan Muhammad was killed during an expedition to Persia, Timur the Great was very sad, and his grandson himself converted Madrasa, who had built himself, into a tomb and buried it here. To make matters worse, two years after the death of Muhammad Sultan, Timur the Great died during an expedition to the East during the Ming Dynasty, and himself was buried here.


    <Gur Emir Mausoleum view>


    Four elements are at the heart of Islamic architecture: Dome, Minaret, Iwan, and Pishtaq.

     The blue dome is an architectural technique created in the Timur period, finished with 64 folds, and the number is said to be the same as the life span of the prophet Muhammad. Pistatk refers to the entrance to the interior of the building through relaxation, and relaxation refers to a space with a vaulted ceiling inside it. The Gur Emir Mausoleum is a beautiful building that incorporates all four elements, and later became the prototype of important Islamic structures around the world, and the Taj Mahal in India is said to have modeled this mausoleum.


    <Gur Emir Mausoleum architecture with 4 elements of Islamic architecture (Dome, Spire, Ewan, and Pistatk)>


     In the Timur Empire period, many of the buildings were directed by artisans from Indo-Persia, and one of the representative features found in many Timur buildings, such as Gur Emir, is Pistatk. The peculiar shape of Pistatk, which serves as the entrance to the building, was inherited by Timur's last prince, Babur, when he went to northern India to establish the Mughal Empire. The fact that it had an influence shows how much the Timur Empire exerted its influence around the world in terms of architectural history.

    <Comparison of architectural structure similarity of Gur Emir, Agra Taj Mahal, and Delhi Humiyun Cemetery>


    Step into the courtyard of Gur Emir and you will find interesting sculptures. There is a large bowl made of marble with a diameter of 1.5 m and a depth of 1 m in the square in front of the mausoleum, and Timur the Great is said to have served it with pomegranate juice to the soldiers. Imagine the warriors of the Timur Empire who may have been alert to the blood of the battlefield. The huge stone next to it is the stone throne that Timur the Great's army sat on when marching. The image of the great priest who would have shown dignity sitting on a huge stone is drawn by itself.


    <Pomegranate bowl shared with pre-war warriors> <The stone throne that Timur sat on during an army march>


    When you go inside, you can appreciate the extreme of splendor. No one knows how gorgeous it would have been in practice. That is because he was stolen at least three times, and was almost neglected in the 19th century. The gold leaf covering the current tomb is said to have been coated by the Soviet Union through a restoration project with a large sum of 1 million rubles (the value of 16 tanks at the time). The coffins are all made of purgatory, and considering how precious gemstones were at the time, the value at the time of production would have been enormous.


    <Inside the mausoleum covered in gold and the coffins of the main figures of the Timur royal family. The black jade crown in the center is Amir Timur's Crown>
    Intangible Heritage

    Calligraphy art

    Calligraphy is one of the branches of fine art, it is also often called the art of beautiful writing. Calligraphers of Central Asia actively developed their craft and thus brought it to the level of art. There were even separate schools of calligraphy: Tashkent, Kokand, Khorezm, Samarkand and Bukhara. Each school had its own distinctive features, and experts could easily determine who wrote this or that inscription. Various styles of Arabic writing began to be used in architecture, carving and painting on ganch and wood. She was even present in the design of household utensils, clothing and other types of artistic creation. Among the most common writing styles are naskh, raikhani, rivo, suls, kufic and others.

    World Heritage

    Shijob traditional market, a space for merchants

    <View of Sijob Traditional Market>

    With a long history, Samarkand has the largest market. It is a traditional market of Sijob located close to Bibihanum Mosque and Registan Square. Uzbekistan has a tightly divided market area, so commercial activities cannot be conducted outside the market.

      There are 3 sets that you should not miss at the Shijob Traditional Market.
      These are bread, dry fruits and spices.



    World Heritage

    Registan Square

    Heart of Samarkand, Jewel of Uzbekistan

    “Registan Square, the heart of Samarkand” is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
    'Registan' is a combination of'reg(sand)' and'stan(ground)' in Persian, meaning'the land of the sand', or'desert'. When the river that used to flow in the past dries up, beautiful buildings were built on this land with only sand, which gave it the name'Registan'.


    <Registan Square, the heart of Saramkand>

     Just as Rome cannot be built overnight, Registan Square is also a huge complex of Islamic education, religion, culture, and arts that has been step-by-step from the 15th century to about 200 years. In the center of the large square in Registan, three Marrassa ensembles are colorfully embroidered with majolica ceramic tiles and light blue mosaics. They are “Ulugbek Madrasa”, “Sherdor Madrasa”, and “Tilakori Madrasa”, the Three Musketeers at Registan Square. Each Madrisa was the largest educational institution in Central Asia to learn not only theology, but also literature, science, world history, foreign languages, politics, etc., and functioned as the best academic cradle during the reign of the Tamur Empire.

    World Heritage

    Ulrgback Madrassa

     The Ulrgbek Madrasa is a building on the left side of the square when facing the Registan Square. It is the first Madrasa constructed in the 15th century, and is an institution of Islamic theology created with great care by Ulugbaek, the grandson of Timur the Great.


    <View of Ulugbek Madrasa>


     “It is the duty of all Muslim citizens to hone their academic arts”
    This is the phrase written at the entrance to the Ulugbaek Madrasa.
    Ulugbaek was a boy king who at the age of 15 became the sultan of Samarkand governor. He was an extraordinary figure with a passion for academics that he taught himself theology, mathematics, and philosophy. Unlike his grandfather Timur the Great, who expanded his territory and gathered world treasures to Samarkand, Ulu Gbaek focused on creating the academic foundations of the early Timur Empire, making Samarkand a center of science and knowledge of the day. He invited some of the best scholars, scientists and philosophers of his time to fully support his research. In fact, Abdul-Rahman Jami, a Persian poet, scholar, scientist, and philosopher, also studied here.


    <Ulugbek Madrasa Pistatk's Constellation Glyph> <Girich-style exterior wall decoratio>


     Ulugbaek's interest in astronomy can also be felt in this Madrassa ornament, with the constellations of the night sky engraved at the entrance, Pistatk. Mosaic and majolica on the outer wall are motifs of flowers and Arabic characters, and the most striking thing is the geometric giriho style with floral patterns inside star-shaped figures.
     After passing the main entrance, you will see a square courtyard, where you will see four Ewan, a vaulted space, and 50 Huzura, which look like students' dormitory rooms. Walking through the courtyard of the reverent Ulugback Madrassa, even the mise-en-scene of the building, you feel as if you were a proud student of the best educational institution at the age of 15.


    <Ulugbek Madrasa Courtyard> <The space under the dome is Dars, the mosque on the other side>
    World Heritage

    Sherdor Madrasa

    The Sherdor Madrasa is the building on the right side of the Registan Square and was built by Alantusi Bahadur, the governor of Bukhara who ruled Samarkand in the 17th century.

    "Sherdor" means "a brave lion" in Persian.

    As the name suggests, Pishtaq has a lion chasing a white deer, a human face and a sun engraved on its facade. Although Islam forbids the expression of any living being or figure, Alantusi, who took control of the region, engraved them on the madrasa to show off his power. When this madrasa was made public, it was criticized by Islamic religious leaders. Some say that this lion symbolizes Alantusa, while some say that the depiction of animals and the sun symbolizes the Zoroastrian influence that has been preserved. This madrasa can also be found on the Uzbek currency, on 200 So'm notes.


    [ Left: The lion chasing a white deer is displayed on Sherdor Madrasa ]

    [ Right: Elaborate terra cotta mosaic on the walls ]


    Governor Alantusi tried to build a new building worthy of the size and nobility of the Ulugh Beg Madrasa that was built during the Timur dynasty, but it was said that he was not able to do so in the same shape and form because the Quran forbids left-right symmetry. Structurally, the resulting building has no significant difference from the Ulugh Beg Madrassa, but there is no mosque and the Darshana classroom is in the back.

    World Heritage

    Tilacori Madrasa

    Tilakori Madrasa, located in the center of Registan Square, is the third madrassa founded by Alantusi Bahadur, governor of Bukhara, to appease the religious leaders who opposed the Sherdor Madrasa.
    The Tilakori Madrasa is designed in a traditional Islamic style. From the exterior, it may feel relatively modest than the Ulrugbag and Sherdor Madrasa, but the moment you step into the inner turquoise dome, the elasticity comes out by itself. The Mirhab, which tells the direction of Mecca at the front, is finished with marble and coated with gold leaf, and the circle of the ceiling takes on a monarch style that represents golden leaves spinning and dancing. The wall that can be seen in the depression is actually flat, but it feels like a three-dimensional space with curved lines connected. Currently, it is used as an art museum that promotes the beauty of Uzbekistan culture and art.


    <View of Tilakori Madrasa>
    World Heritage

    Ulugback Observatory

    Dreams for the sky come true.

    The sky was an object that I wanted to explore further because I couldn't reach it from both east and west. The glimmering stars seen in the dark night desert have been enough to captivate the young Sultan Mirzo Ulugbek, who will be praised as the best astronomer for centuries.
     After Timur the Great's fate changed in 1405, the Timur Empire had a war between Timur's son Shahhur and Timur's grandson Khalil Sultan for succession. His son Ulug Beck became a Samarkand sultan at the age of only 15.
     Ulugbeck mastered theology, foreign languages ​​and mathematics, and above all, astronomical law, and his astronomical observations and astronomical tables shook Europe. Climb the stairs and reach Ulugbek Square to see the observatory on the left and the pavilion on the right.


    <Ulugbek Observatory Site (left)/ Ulugbek Exhibition Hall (right)>


    <Ulugbeck Observatory Projected Map> <Observation site of the observatory where only half remains>

    The upper part disappears, and only the lower part remains. It was originally observed when looking up from the bottom, but now I have to look down only from the top. The scale of the track, which looks like a staircase, represents the angle, and it is said that the position of the sun or stars was determined by looking at the light shining on the scale.

    <Protractors and scales that look like rails> <Expected reading reading scale>

    Based on elaborate observations, Ulugbeck observed and recorded the movement of 1,018 constellations. Based on accurate observations, he calculated a year's length of 365 days, 6 hours 10 minutes 9 seconds, which was within 1 minute of error from the current calculation.

    Intangible Heritage

    Sharok Taronalari International Music Festival

     Along with the Nauvuz Festival, there is a festival that can be enjoyed at the Registan Square, so it is the “Sharok Taronalari” International Music Festival.
     In Uzbekistan, a country with active succession and development of various ethnic music such as Doston, Shashimacom and Kata Ashula, masters of ethnic music are treated as national heroes. Reflecting this atmosphere, the “Sharok Taronalari” festival is held at Registan Square in Samarkand.
     Sharok Taronalari, meaning “Eastern melody,” has been held every two years since 1997 for the purpose of preservation, development, and transmission while promoting the artistry of Eastern music. The history of the Silk Road and the romance of the desert starry night meet with ethnic music from each country to make the colorful Islamic Square a beautiful and colorful festival venue. It is receiving high attention from the public enough to broadcast the contest live throughout the festival period.
     The 12th event, in which the President of Uzbekistan and the Secretary-General of UNESCO participated in 2019, gathered more than 900 musicians, dancers, artists and scholars from all over the world to share the cultural heritage of each country, regardless of race, language, religion, or origin. It has established itself as an international cultural festival and music festival pursuing peace and coexistence.


    <Sharok Taronalari opening ceremony scene>


    <Uzbek representative performance scene>
    Theme of Journey

    A Blue Gem over the Brightly Shining Desert

    Uzbekistan has been at the crossroads of major trade routes through Central Asia and has historically played a central role in the cultural, economic and social exchange between Europe and Asia for thousands of years. A stopover on the Silk Road and the center of many empires, Uzbekistan has beautiful ancient cities where you can see thousands of years of glorious history and cultural transitions with one's own eyes.

    Among them is a city called the Heart of the Silk Road, as major transportation between East and West Eurasia. Samarkand is a city that brings to mind the word "beautiful", a city that has been the aesthetic, historical and cultural centre of global cultural exchange for hundreds of years, a mysterious, dreamy and romantic city, a city that becomes a blue jewel when the sky is dyed by the golden sunset.

    As Samarkand was the centre of the Silk Road, stories of countless people and generations have piled up, creating a rich history. Stories of heroes, of merchants and of philosophers are collected, like sand grains in the desert, to shape the story of Samarkand.