Architecture in Uzbekistan: past and present

Architecture in Uzbekistan: past and present

The Architecture of Uzbekistan has been influenced by a diverse array of architectural traditions such as Islamic architecture, Persian architecture, and Russian architecture. Timurid architecture is the pinnacle of Islamic art in Uzbekistan. Spectacular and stately edifices erected by Timur and his successors in Samarkand and Herat helped to disseminate the influence of the Ilkhanid school of art to India, thus, giving rise to the celebrated Moghol school of architecture. Timurid architecture started with the sanctuary of Ahmad Yas-sawi in present-day Kazakhstan and culminated hi Timur’s mausoleum Gur-e Amir in Samarkand, The style is largely derived from Persian architecture. For more information go to

The Timur Great conquered Persia, captured Baghdad, and lead expeditions to Anatolia and India. Most of the architecture that is found in Samarkand was build by Timur and his grandson Ulug’bek

Probably, the most impressive architecture mat remains from this period can be found in Samarkand. Axial symmetry is a characteristic of all major Timurid structures, notably the Shah-e Zendah and Registan in Samarkand . Double domes of various shapes abound, and the outsides are perfused with brilliantly colors.

Timur filled his capital with both secular and religious monuments, as well as a plethora of gardens, which featured stone walls and floors with elaborate patterns and palaces outfit-ed with gold, silk and car-sets. Most of these strucures have not survived to he present. There are also still extant examples of buildings erected by subsequent Timurid rulers. As noted above, although they did not share his passion for territorial expansion, they did inherit his love of fine architecture.

“Interestingly enough, one of the principle Timurid builders was Gawhar Shad, Shah Rukh’s wife, who was responsible for a magnificent mosque at Meshed (built between 1405 and 1418) and a mosque-madrasah-mausoleum complex in Herat (1417-1437). Unfortunately, these structures are mostly in ruins today, largely as a result of war and earthquakes over the last two centuries” wrote in his research Mark Dickens, an independent researcher.

Dickens noted that the transition of the Timurid capital to Herat also moved the architectural focus from Samarkand to that city. However, the Timurids still continued to build in their founder’s capital, especially Ulug’bek, who was governor of the city under his father, Shah Rukh.

In addition, there are two important examples of Timurid architecture from the period after Timur:
the “madrasah” and observatory of Ulug’bek (Ulugh Beg), Most experts of the architectural art consider them as a great work of architecture, and believe that they are unique in its complexity and its ambitiousness. They ranked among the best work of that period. It should be noted that the observatory was built in 1428.

Following Samarkand, Bukhara is the next ancient city with many architectural buildings. Bukhara has been one of the main centres of Iranian civilization during its history. Its architecture and archeological sites form one of the pillars of the Persian history and art.

Extensive construction activity was accompanied by progressive construction techniques, Massive buildings were sull made of adobe (pakhsa), using day and frame systems and flat wooden roofs.
Objects of monumental construction involved some innovations; for instance, kiln-dried bricks were utilized in the brickwork of walls and the system of domes. The use of kiln-dried bricks made possible both greater durability and an ever-increasing scale of buildings, thus giving an impressive effect to many buildings. Bricks were used as decorative materials, in addition to being primary building materials. Pattern-forming brickwork provided a rich geometric ornamentalism to facades and interiors. The process of kiln drying large slabs of day led to the emergence of ornamental terracotta, for which masters used geometric and vegetal patterns, along with inscriptions using the Arabic Kufi and Maskhi scripts. Gypsum and wood carving, as well as ornamental mural painting in interiors were common methods from pre-Islamic times, when such decoration was practiced. One further achievement in the field of architectural decoration of the eleventh and twelfth centuries was the application of glazed bricks and slabs of glazed ornamental terracotta.

Geometric patterns (girikh) dominated the decorative practice from the tenth to twelfth centuries. This Arabic term refers to both the basic element of geometric patterns and the patterns themselves, The developmental level of girikh coincided with the rise of mathematics and other exact sciences in the Muslim-Orient at that time. In particular, the study of geometry was applied widely in architecture. It was not only useful in developing pattern systems, but also the overall proportions of structures, so that the buildings developed a sense of balanced oneness. In training skilled professional architects, it was necessary to master these methods. In Bukhara, architectural monuments built from the tenth through the twentieth centuries have survived to present days.

Bukhara is a “living” city, and its buildings are in use in its everyday life. Thus, it has so many significant buildings – Modem Bukhara looks like a collage with its historical monuments and modern buildings.

Tashkent is one of the ancient cities appeared on the cross of the Great Silk Road from China to Europe First information about Tashkent as city settling is in the ancient east sources of the second century before A.D. Already in the ancient times advantageous geographical location and favorable climate make Tashkent one of the main points at the trade road of “the Great Silk Road” In support of this suggestion by archaeologists of Uzbekistan in the south part of modern Tashkent, irrigated by the Jun River, were found remains of the settling of city type-Shashtepa Ruins of defensive armed wall, round citadel with building rrom the moisture bricks and pahsa inside it were discovered Outside defensive wall of citadel included inside vaulted corridor and was designed outside with tower shape ledges, which means it was built taking into consideration fortification motion of its time

The main square of the old city market-Chorsu Square-appeared in 9th century Trade Roads came to Chorsu from all gates, transforming to market streets This square was transport flyover and trade place
In the 6th century one of the honourable edifices, Kukildosh Madrasah, was built there Chorsu mahallya, Tikanh mazar, Chukur village were situated on the modern part of Chorsu Square In the modern period Chorsu has been reconstructed GUM, Central City Drugstore, Chorsu Hotel and other constructions of modern architecture were built Mahallya appeared around old squares and market streets, which in most cases were called by the activities of craftspeople.

Since Tashkent was the city of rich merchants and craftspeople big architectural buildings were mainly tied-up with constructions and design of caravanserais, mosques, and mausoleums.

The earliest buildings that reached our time are mausoleums, appeared along the caravan roads, they were devoted to saint sheikhs, and they were not only the places of worship, begging luck in life and trade work, but also original landscape, decorating long boring way on the desert roads.

In Tashkent City and along the routes to it remained some ten of such mausoleums.

Today’s architectures are well worked to modernize the city of Tashkent In the city a number of hotels which undoubtedly meet the international standards have been built Besides, many parks and wide roads are adding the extra beauty to the city From the ancient times Uzbek builders have been creating “lively art” by making long-lasting modern and ancient architectural constructions The styles of the present architects are more likely to the styles of their ancestors They are reconstructing old edifices At the same time they are designing and building constructions in the style with the national spirit.

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