Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Some Historical Buildings in Bukhara and Samarkand

I had the opportunity of visiting many historical buildings and  sites in Bukhara and Samarkand recently. These include Poi Kalyan Mosque, Madrasah Min-i-Arab and Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara; and Registan Square in Samarkand. These sites were gazetted by UNESCO in 1993 and 2001 respectively.

In Bukhara, the Poi Kalyan complex is situated right in the city centre at Khodja Nurobod Street and Samarkand Street. It consists the 45.6 metre minaret (constructed in the 12 century), a mosque (built in the 15th century) and a madrasah. When I visited the place,  I was told that this is the only madrasah in Bukhara which has been functioning and certainly has students. We were not allowed to enter madrasah courtyard as the classes were on.

The tall minaret and the mosque is next to it.
The mosque is located next to madrasah. Architecturally, it  is superb with light blue domes, geometric wall tiles and has a large courtyard. I found this courtyard is interesting. It is wide enough for people to congregate. However, it is now not function as mosque but as historical relics and open for tourists.

Its minaret is also unique, made of sandstones, tapers towards the top. I was told when Genghis Khan invaded Bukhara, this tower was spared.

This area is close to other old relic like Labi Huvaz and Art Fortress. It is a walking distance to both sites.
RegistanSquare: on the left is Ulugbeh Madrasah, Sher Dor on the right and at the far end is Tilli Kori Mosque.

The next day, I made a trip to Samarkand. This time, I visited the Registan which located at Registan Road, right in the city centre. It is a big square with 2 madrasah and a mosque. The madrasah are Ulugbeg Madrasah (built in 15 century) and Sher Dor Madrasah (built in 17 century). While the mosque, Tillo Kori mosque next to it was built in the 17th century. They have a good architecture with domes, and wall tiles of various designs. I entered Ulugbeg madrasah first and found inside there are many stalls or handicraft kiosks. They have replaced madrasah classrooms. The court yard is nice. The building has been restored recently. For the Sher Dor, the design is superb with two domes however, this one has not been fully restored. While the mosque was not a mosque any more and was converted as the craft shop and information centre.

Well, gone are the days where the great knowledge  were disseminated from these madrasahs and now it is disappearing and become purely tourist areas. I personally wish one day, the real madrasah  and the mosque will be fully functioning in the future. I like to hear azan from this mosque when I visit the next time......

Happy travelling.

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