Here is a compilation of exquisite examples of Islamic architecture with intricate workmanship in Uzbekistan.
Ismail Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara
Ismail Samanid Mausoleum was a family crypt built soon after the death of Ismail Samani’s father in the late 9th century. However, building crypts were against the Islamic law at the time. Nevertheless, this law was broken by one of the caliphs during the same century, and Ismail Samani only followed his example. The mausoleum has a unique design combining multi-cultural decorative elements such as Sogdian, Sassanian, Persian, and even classical and Byzantine architecture. Furthermore, the design incorporates customary Islamic architectural features including semi-circular domes, pointed arches, elaborate portals, columns, and geometric designs in the brickwork.
Kalyan Minaret, Bukhara
Built in 1127, Kalyan (Great) Minaret is a minaret of the Po-i-Kalyan Mosque complex and a landmark of the city. The minaret has an elaborate design with strings of geometrical ornaments made of baked bricks.
The Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Samarkand
The construction of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque started in 1399 at the behest of Timur who intended to build a great mosque and give it the name of his wife. When Timur returned from his military campaign in 1404, the construction was not complete yet, so Timur made several changes to the design, pushing the building techniques of the time to their limits. Therefore, various inconsistencies soon appeared in the structural integrity. During the next few centuries, the mosque did not go under any reconstruction, and it deteriorated over the years. Moreover, the inner arch of the portal construction collapsed due to an earthquake in 1897. Finally, the Uzbek state began reconstructing the mosque in 1974, and it is still ongoing.
The Madrasa of Abdulaziz Khan in Bukhara
The Madrasa of Abdulaziz Khan was built in 1652 as part of a previously constructed complex; however, it did not inherit the existing design which was unaccustomed. Moreover, the madrasa was the first structure in which yellow paint was used for decoration in the history of Central Asian Architecture.
Guri Amir Mausoleum, Samarkand
Built in the early 15th century, the Guri Amir Mausoleum is the burial place of Timur or Tamerlane who was the last Central Asian leader to achieve great military successes. He is commemorated for his conquests from India and Russia to the Mediterranean Sea.
Char Minar, Bukhara
Char Minar is a historic gatehouse with four decorative towers for an early 19th-century madrasa that was demolished.
Bolo Haouz Mosque, Bukhara
Built in 1712, Bolo Hauz Mosque (meaning “above the pool”) has a hybrid design reflecting Bukhara’s harsh steppe climate with stifling heat in the summer and nipping cold in the winter. Therefore, the design comprises a winter church and a summer church. The core of the building is for winter with heavy brick walls, capped by a spacious dome. In the summer, people worship at the iwan on the east side comprising a 20-pillared hall measuring 42×10 meters.
Tilla-Kari Madrassa in Samarkand
The Tilla-Kari Madrassa, built in 1660, was an educational institute for Muslims, serving as both high school and seminary. The madrassa took severe damage due to an earthquake in the 19th century and underwent 60 years of reconstruction which lasted until 1980. The restorers managed to reconstruct the original look of the madrassa with ceramic tiles covering both the interior and the exterior with oriental patterns and floral ornaments.