One of the most famous monuments of Bukhara – the Kukaldash Madrasah – is located near the Labi-Hauz architectural complex. This educational institution was built between 1568 and 1569. This is the largest Madrasah in Bukhara and one of the largest similar educational institutions in Central Asia.
The name “Kukaldash” is very common. In Tashkent there is a Madrasah of the same name. The name means “sun friend” or “milk brother”.
The Kukaldash Madrasah in Bukhara has an architectural form and decoration that is completely atypical for the time. Most educational institutions in Bukhara were built schematically according to a model at that time. They were majestic buildings with a luxurious entrance group, surrounded on all sides by huge walls. When Kukaldash was built, this tradition was not respected. The walls around the construction are by no means empty, they have numerous niches and balconies with Ganche ornaments. There are a total of 160 cells on two floors and in the courtyard of the building.
The Madrasah was built during the reign of Abdullakhan II. The financing of this large building project was provided by Emir Kulbab. eser Emir was able to gain the respect and approval of all in his position as a state. This wisdom and diplomacy enabled Kulbab to receive one of the most honourable titles, the title of Kukaldash. Later a madrassa was named after him.
There are speculations that the Kukaldash Madrasah in Bukhara is one of the components of the Labi Havuz ensemble, but this statement is fundamentally wrong. After careful examination of all the buildings, archaeological experts have concluded that Kukaldash is an independent structure.
Kukaldash did not always serve as a Madrasah. Over the years, its purpose changed regularly. There was a moment in the history of the building when it was used as a caravanserai. The most famous and talented masters of the time were involved in the construction of the Madrasah. The Ganch arches are closely interwoven and together form a vault of overwhelming beauty and ornamentation. The gates to the Madrasah are decorated with mosaics that were applied without glue or nails. The front entrance group is decorated with geometrical ornaments.
The Madrasah has experienced many events, including a devastating earthquake. At that time the elements thoroughly destroyed the portal in front of the building, which was then simply fixed with metal brackets.
During the reign of Beklar begi, bricks were used to extend the upper floor of the building and the breathtakingly beautiful sky-blue domes. Nevertheless, the Madrasah has retained its appeal to this day thanks to talented craftsmen who willingly initiated its reconstruction.
Kukaldash is of great significance for modern history because one of the most famous Central Asian writers, Sadriddin Ayni, lived for a long time in one of the cells and created his great works. He died in the middle of the 20th century, but his work is immortal. He left his descendants a large number of important literary masterpieces and today the name of the writer is immortalised on the walls of the Kukaldash-Madrasah – a small monument has been erected inside the building and some of Sadriddin Ayni’s personal belongings and even some of his handwritten texts are on public display.