The turquoise coloured domes, intricate geometric patterns, colourful mosaics are some key features which display the architecture of Uzbekistan. Several Islamic architectural marvels come from the architectural centres of Uzbekistan like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shahrisabz, and Kokand. The palaces, mausoleums, mosques, and minarets here, exhibit royalty and grace like nowhere else in the world. Uzbekistan is a country worth visiting if historical and cultural grandeur attracts you.
Here is a list of 15 famous structures of Uzbekistan:
1. Registan Square
Registan was a place where public gatherings for royal proclamations happened during the reign of King Timur. The square is centrally situated in the ancient city of Samarkand. It was also known as the hub of the Timur renaissance. It comprises three madrassahs named -Ulugh Beg Madrasah(1417–1420), Sher-Dor Madrasah(1619–1636), and Tilya-Kori Madrasah (1646–1660) displaying Islamic architecture.
The meaning of the word Shahr-i- Shabz is ‘the city of green’. The Shahrishabz city was historically known as kesh or kish and was a major city of Central Asia. Today the city is known to be the birthplace of 14th-century conqueror King Timur. Several monuments from the Timurid Dynasty can be seen here today, hence the city is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The well-known monuments of the place are Ak-Saray palace, Kok gumbaz mosque, Hazrat Imam complex, and the tomb of King Timur.
3. Walled city of Khiva/Ichan Kala
The ancient walled inner town of the city of Khiva is a part of the world heritage site. The old city is surrounded by 10m high plastered brick walls whose foundations were laid during the 10th century. There are more than 200 houses built during the 18th century. The city has several historic monuments such as mosques, madrasah, bathhouses, harems, etc.
4. Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
The words Gur-e-Amir means ‘the tomb of the king’ in Persian. The complex was built at the end of the 14th century by order of Muhammad Sultan. The construction of the mausoleum here began in 1403 after the sudden death of Muhammad Sultan, King Timur’s heir.
5. Chor Minar
Chor Minar is located in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It is also known as the Madrasah of Khalif Niyaz-kul. A wealthy Bukharan of Turkmen, Khaif Niyaz-Kul built the structure in the 19th century under the rule of the Janid dynasty. The Chor Minar complex was used as a shelter and for religious purposes. Despite having an unusual outward form, the structure has a typical interior for a central Asian mosque.
6. Tashkent Tower
The Tashkent tower is the 12th tallest tower in the world having a height of 375m. The tower became operational as a radio and television transmission from 1985. The tower is also functional for communication between governmental departments. The tower is constructed of steel and is a vertical cantilever structure. The firm Terxiev, Tsarucov & Semashko was responsible for the architectural design of the tower.
7. Samani Mausoleum
The mausoleum is considered to be one of the oldest funerary buildings of Central Asia and an iconic example of early Islamic architecture. It was Built in the 10th century CE it is located in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The mausoleum was built as a resting place of the Samanid dynasty and contained three burials. The mausoleum incorporated multicultural building and decorative traditions such as Sassanian, Persian, and byzantine architecture. The perfectly symmetrical and compact yet monumental structure had elaborate portals, intricate geometrical designs I brickwork.
8. Amir Timur Museum
The museum is dedicated to Mongol emperor Amir Timur. The museum is located in Tashkent and opened to the public in 1996. The museum came to existence as Islam Karimov, the former president declared 1996 to be the “Year of Amir Timur”. The museum’s blue cupola resembles the cupola of Gur Ami in Samarkand. The museum, although built according to medieval architecture, incorporates all the modern requirements.
9. Khan Palace
The palace is named after Khudayar Khan, the last ruler of Kokand Khanate. Famously known as ‘The pearl of Kokand’.The palace was built in the year 1871 and comprised 4 acres of green land. The palace was designed to have seven magnificent courtyards and 119 rooms. Only 19 rooms and 2 courtyards today are open for public visits.
10. Ulug Beg Observatory
The Ulug beg observatory was built during the 1420s by astronomer and mathematician Ulug beg. The observatory is considered to be one of the finest observatories of the Islamic world. Skilled architects of that time Qazizada-I Rumi and Kashani were involved in the construction of the observatory. The observatory was built on a hill 21m above the ground. The cylindrical building entirely made of brick had a diameter of 46m and a height of 33m.
11. Hast Imam Square
Hast Imam also is known as Hazrat-i- Imam is a religious centre located in the old part of the city of Tashkent. The complex was developed around the tomb of the first imam and famous scientist, poet of the city Abu Bakr Muhammad Kafal Shashi. There are several architectural monuments on the premises including the madrasah of Barak-khan, Tilla Sheikh Mosque, Islamic Institute of Imam al Bukhari, etc.
12. Mir-i-Arab Madrasah
The Shaybanids built this sacred Islamic educational place in the 16th century. The construction of the madrasah is credited to Sheikh Abdullah Yamani of Yaman. The madrasah exhibits a traditional four iwan courtyard plan. There are around 100 student cells located here. The tomb of Mir-i-Arab occupies the largest classroom.
13. Nukus Museum of Art
The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan is based in Nukus, Uzbekistan thus commonly known as the Nukus museum of art. The museum is named after I.V. Savitsky and represents his life’s work which included artistic and cultural art. The museum publically opened in 1966 and showcases a collection of over 82,000 items, ranging from antiquities from Khorezm to Karakalpak folk art. The museum has the second largest collection of Russian avat-garde art in the world.
14. Kalyan Minar
The Kalyan minaret was designed by Bako and was built by the Qarakhanid ruler Mohammad Arslan Khan in 1127 to summon Muslims. The minaret is a prominent landmark and is a part of the poi Kalyan mosque complex in Bukhara. It is a circular baked brick tower narrowing upwards. It is 45.6m high having a 9m diameter at the bottom and 6m at the top. A brick spiral staircase leads to the top of the minar. The base of the tower has ornamental strings placed in a straight and diagonal fashion.
The place is named after the few remaining Hauz(ponds) that survive today in the city of Bukhara. The Lyab-i-Hauz is the centrepiece of the architecture, created during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Lyab-i Hauz is surrounded by the pond on its sides, consisting of the Kukeldash Madrasah, and two religious structures built by Nadir Divan-Beghi: a khanaka and a madrasah.