The Registan (literally ‘land/place of sand’) is quite possibly the most well-known architectural emblem of Central Asia. In this square towers three massive edifices, the Ulugbek, Tilla-Kari and Sher Dor– respectively to the west, north and east– fashioning a huge open courtyard. These building are Madrassas, an Arabic term meaning a ‘school’. Ulegbek was the first constructed in the fifteenth century and the other two in the seventeenth century.
I entered this awe-inspiring ensemble of architecture with a friend from Uzbekistan that I had met maybe just an hour before. Walking through the maze of teal, cobalt, lapis lazuli and gold toned ceramic tiles with a native of Samarkand- though now studying in Tashkent- really brought theses intricately designed and decorated buildings to life. I watched how these particular ancient structures still played such a vital role in the lives of the people here. They serve not just as a mere attraction for foreigners flying in for an adventurous holiday, but a meeting point for friends, a backdrop for special events, a place to work and thrives for all the merchants and artisans. Below is a sizable selection of my first impression in photographs wandering through the buildings.