The Registan Square is a real gem located in the very heart of the ancient city of Samarkand. It has gained its worldwide fame thanks to the great architectural ensemble that has become a monument of the oriental architecture. From three sides, the square is surrounded with grand madrassah, portals of which are facing the center of the space. All three erections have their own unique décor. It is by virtue of these buildings, preserved on the territory of the city, Samarkand was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.
Translated from Tajik, “registan” means a sand place. In the ancient times, this central square was covered by sand. The territory was not initially surrounded by madrassah; those great erections appeared rather later. In that period, authorities of the city were gathering people on the square to announce khan’s orders, held celebrations and public executions, and collected the army leaving to war.
In the past, one could see many trade rows around the square, where artisans and farmers were selling their goods. All main roads of Samarkand led to Registan where it was always noisy and lively.
Various rulers during their reign would change the main significance of the square, but since those times and up to now, Registan has always been the center of the city social life.
There are three madrassahs on the square: Ulughbek, Sherdor and Tilla-Kori, that are the main sights of the city. They were erected by two rulers at different times.
It has been long since the moment of the first erection on the Registan Square up to now- already 6 centuries. In the end of the 17th century, Samarkand had gone through severe economic decline. The status of the capital city passed to Bukhara and merchants of the Great Silk Road would keep away from the city. There were only around 1000 families left in it at that time, and once wonderful buildings of madrassah were a shelter for wild animals. It was only in 1875 when Samarkand regained its past trading significance and the Registan Square was leveled and bridged.
However, in 1918 Samarkand faced changes again. The Soviet rule prohibited activity of any madrassah as religious schools. During this time, erections endured many natural damaging factors: earthquakes, harsh weather conditions. The larger part of the cladding of the building and the painting décor were lost. Nevertheless, it was the Soviet rule that had given the order to restore the entire Registan and give it the status of the significant historical monument on the Great Silk Road.
Restoration works had lasted many years and finished just before the fall of the Soviet Union. Scientists literally had to collect the whole interior and the exterior of the buildings and smaller façade fragments, restoring all elements.
The look that we can see on the Registan today is painstaking work of hundreds of restorers. If there was no decision taken during the Soviet rule to restore the unique monument, this beautiful ancient sight would never stand in front of our eyes.
Today different concerts, celebrations and other bright events of the city and the Republic are held on the Registan Square. Thousands of tourists’ daily flow to the square in order to see the grand beauty.
Registan is a valuable gift that we had inherited from our ancestors, embodying the entire charm of the eastern architecture.