Registan Square (“sandy place”) is an administrative and trade-craft center of Samarkand. Registan was completely constructed in 17th century and consists of three madrasahs – Ulugbek (1417-1420), Sher-Dor (1619-1636) and Tillya Kari (1647-1660). From northern-eastern side there is a trade structure Chorsu which was built in 18th century. Six radial streets cross at Registan and on its point of intersection at the beginning of 15th century trade center “Telpak Furushon” was constructed. From northern side of the square caravan serial named Mirzoi was built by Mirzo Ulugbek. All the adjacent streets were full of workshops and other small shops. After four years of the construction of this caravan serial on the place where nowadays Sher-Dor Madrasah stands khanaka was built by Mirzo Ulugbek.
During Amir Temur’s government Registan was the main trade square of the city. It became a spiritual center under Ulugbek’s ruling.
Ulugbek Madrasah was under construction from 1417-1420 during the ruling of the scientist Mirzo Ulugbek and was the biggest scientific educational centers of Central Asia in 15th century. Mathematics, astronomy and philosophy had been studies here.
The main facade of the madrasah is faced to the square. The basic composition is determined by a portal, two minarets and domes of two spaces where lessons had been given. Tympanum of the portal is decorated with ornament of five-pointed and ten-pointed stars imitating starlit sky.
Sher-Dor Madrasah was built by Yalangtush Bakhadur – a commander, politician, and energetic governor from Bukharian khans in Samarkand at the place of dilapidated and destructed khanaka of Mirzo Ulugbek on the eastern side of the square.
The foundation of Sher-Dor Madrasah is 1.5 meters high then a square of Ulugbek’s time. Composition of the yard is traditional: it is surrounded by two stores of khudjras (rooms where pupils lived), four ayvans, and on the main façade there are two darskhanas (educational classes).
Sher-Dor Madrasah was built two hundred years later then its own original. In spite of this, there are a lot of new methods of construction that is typical for the construction style of 17th century where reduction of artistic expressiveness’s quality had been already observed. But color and some of panels says about high craft of the constructors who built that wonderful building.
Layout of the madrasah repeats the common composition of Ulugbek Madrasah, but there are some differences in details. Special interest presents tympanum above big portal arch. It is decorated with an anthropomorphic depiction of the sun and tiger attacking a fallow deer. The whole composition lies on blue background with spiral sprout of turquoise and golden tones with white flowers spread along the path. This interesting picture of tympanum determined the name of Sher-Dor Madrasah that means “decorated with tigers”.
Tillya Kari Madrasah was built by Yalangtush Bakhadur 10 years later after the construction of Sher-Dor Madrasah and later the madrasah was named Tillya Kari. Construction lasted almost 14-15 years.
The construction of Tillya Kari Madrasah had completed the whole ensemble of Registan. Architecture of facade part of Tillya Kari considers as a worthy background to the both madrasah that situated opposite to each other. The main facade is double-stored that helps to balance huge buildings of Ulugbek and Sher-Dor Madrasahs.
Main entrance portal faced to the square is cut by deep pentahedral niche with two entrances leading to the big secluded yard. Symmetry of the composition in the yard underlined by small portals in the central yard facades. Through the main entrance in portal niche you can get to the central hall of the mosque. Opposite the entrance there is mihrab faced with marble. Near the mihrab there is a niche that indicates to Mecca and on the right side there is peculiar pulpit (minbar – space for a preacher) with high marble stairs. The yard of the mosque is used for conducting Friday prayers.
Kundal painting (multicolored techniques with usage of gilding painting on the relief ornament) is used in the interior of the mosque. Excessive gilding painting with relief murals in the central hall of the mosque testifies of the desire to impress the people by luxury and richness. Abundance of gilding determined the name of the madrasah – Tillya Kari that means “coated with gold”.