Registan Square has so many things to see, it might take you a full day to explore all the sights.

Samarkand is one of the few ancient cities without a distinct “Old Town” where all major sites and tourist attractions are concentrated. There is only one exception – the city’s main square, that has enough to occupy you for a full day. Samarkand Registan is the most prominent landmark of the city. expect 90% of all tourist infrastructure and accommodations to be concentrated here. 

What is Registan Square ?

Registan Square The Registan complex is a typical example of Persian architecture with many traditional Islamic motives. This majestic ensemble of the Timurid era image is what you see on postcards from Uzbekistan, its central symbol. It is located in the very heart of the city. 

Registan Square Sights

First of all, Registan is not precisely the “name” of the square. Every central cathedral square in Uzbekistan was called Registan in the 12th century. Registan was also the main ceremonial squares in the Middle East. 

 Registan (“a place covered with sand”) represents the ancient east’s history and culture. 

The most important events took place here, main ceremonies and cruel, deadly executions. More and more sand was needed continuously to absorb tens of liters of blood spilled. Registan square was generously strewn with sand and didn’t turn into a blood pond. Thus..a place covered with sand. 

Registan Square sights

Architecturally, Regustan is an ensemble of three great medieval universities. The square was included in 2001 in the UNESCO World Heritage List 2001 after many issues and misunderstandings. Unfortunately, UNESCO was hesitant about making the ensemble and other architectural wonders of Samarkand part of the world heritage. They did not see enough effort and urge from the local government to preserve it. 

Ulugbek madrasah

It faces the square with an arch portal embellished with calligraphy, performed in the most outstanding artistic skill. The corners of the madrasah are decorated with domes and minarets looking upwards. 

Ulugbek midrash is famous for its carved mosaics and marble, poured ceramic tiles, and exceptional interior design solutions.

The most distinctive feature of this ensemble is its rich kungal-style gilding sprinkled with sky-blue ceramics. Its blue and white design blends harmoniously with the natural landscape and light sky of Samarkand.Walk into the main hall, lift your head up, breath – I guarantee you will freeze in awe for a moment.

 There is a mosaic panel with a geometric pattern above the entrance. The madrasah’s inner courtyard is square; there is a mosque, classrooms and hujras – rooms for students. 

Samarkand artists used two primary colors in midrash’s decor: white and blue. The presence of any other colors is the indicator of input from “not local” craftsmen. 

In the 15th century, Ulugbek was recognized as the best university of Islam. Some of its famous students include Abdurahman Jami. Be sure to visit the main hall and minarets. Want a bird-eye view at the square? Climb the ladder and see all the surroundings from a 30-meter height!

Registan Square Sights

There are rows of souvenir shops in the court yard, costume rental, and some photo props for “eastern carpet” style photos. 

Despite the tourist trappy of this place, the midrash is very authentic. Lecture rooms where Ulugbec (himself!) taught are open to the public.The architect is unknown.

 By the incredible architectural marvels that Registan square is, we can touch history, even for a moment. Every wall and every tile in the mosaic breaths, keeping the secrets of the past. 

Sher-Dor Madrasah

Sher-dor means “decorated with tigers”. The main decoration of the university is the image of a tiger above the portal arch.Chasing a deer in the sun’s white light rays with slanting eyes is the Sher-Dor Madrasah’s distinct feature.

Fun fact : Muslim traditions forbid any depiction of animals and especially humans on acred buildings. Sher-Dor has both!

The meaning behind it more educational than rebellios.These mosaics were very symbolic :

The images of tigers chasing after a deer: 

“You need to chase knowledge, like a tiger chases a deer, and absorb this knowledge like a tiger eats a doe.”The human face symbolizes that every divine character is not immortal.

Swastica above the entrance to Sher-Dor Madrasah does not carry the negative meaning we associate it with today. Swastica, meaning “conducive to wellbeing.” is an ancient symbol used in sacred symbols in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and pre-Christian and Christian cultures.

As a symbol, the swastika’s power resides in its purity and balance, fertility and wellbeing. And this is the meaning Samarkand artists put in it, placing it above the mendrashes’ entrances along with “Allah Akbar” inscriptions. 

Sher-Dor Madrasah is a university in Registan Square, designed by Abdul Jabbar and built in the 17th century. Sher-Dor Madrasah was architected to resemble the Ulugbek midrash and maintain the overall style of Registan Square. It sure has its own unique features and individuality.

Due to some irregular shapes, such as large, oversized domes, the madrasah began to collapse after several decades. The restoration that took place in the 20th century saved the Sher-Dor madrasah from sinking completely. 

Today, the building is safely restored, and its ancient artistic character is well preserved. There are great turquoise domes and refined mosaics. The layout of the building is very different from the neighboring mandrashes. The inner courtyard contains study rooms, cells and a storage room. 

Tilla-Kari

 Tillya-Kari Madrasah is the most central monument in Registan Square and the youngest one. It was the final piece in the Registan Square ensemble. 

 Tillya-Kari translates as “trimmed with gold.” The vault, walls, mihrab and minbar are covered with gold, and once you walk in, you understand why this is the most famous monument among tourists. 

Inside you will find souvenir shops and a small exposition showing the ancient manufacturing techniques of famous Samarkand paper

Registan Square today 

Today, the Registan is a venue for major cultural events. Every major music festival in the region takes s place here. In the evening, the locals come to the stairs in front of the square. The area is very family-friendly. Local police are everywhere in the square and around it. 

The square is also the ultimate destination for wedding photographers. 

Don’t be surprised if you are approached by local children asking you a couple of questions for their school research to practice their English. 

At night, the Registan square is almost more impressive than in the daylight. And it is from the stairs, slightly outside the square, where you can see it in its full majesty and grandeur. 

Opening hours of Registan Square : 

 March to November – from 7am to 9pm

December to February – 8 am to 8pm

Registan Square entrance ticket cost :

Entrance ticket for citizens of Uzbekistan – 3000 sum for an adult 

Entrance for foreign citizens – $ 3.5 (40,000 sum) for an adult, 

10,000 sum for a child