During the reign of Ulugbek, a descendant of Amir Temur, education developed actively. Ulugbek was involved in educational activities and established many famous madrasas in various cities of the country, including Bukhara with its strict Islamic principles. The Ulugbek Madrasah in Bukhara was built even earlier than the famous similar educational institutions in Samarkand (Ulugbek Madrasah in Samarkand) and Gijduvan and became their prototype.
The building of the madrasah was built in 1417. The construction was carried out by the best architects of that period – Ismayil Isfagani and Najmiddin Bukhari. However, the madrasah did not acquire its modern appearance with majolica coating until 1585 during the restoration work. Contemporaries remember that Ulugbek, on his first visit to the madrasah, gave expensive gifts to all students and teachers.
Originally, the educational institution built on Ulugbek’s behalf was intended to train 80 apprentices. Much attention was paid here to mathematical and astronomical instruction, the Arabic language and religion. According to historical data, up to 150 students studied here at the same time. They not only had accommodation, but also a decent scholarship.
The structure still looks very harmonious and balanced today. A rather austere and modest decoration does not prevent the building from being majestic and from being considered one of the main works of architecture of that time.
The medrese is a building of impressive size and rectangular shape. The façade of the main entrance is decorated with a large portal. The structure differs in its design from many similar buildings. According to tradition, in most madrasahs the widest central corridor leads to the courtyard. In the Ulugbek Madrasah in Bukhara this tradition is broken. The corridor starting from the doors is divided into two parts, the first of which leads to the mosque and the second to the study room. The entrance group of the educational institution was decorated with a carved extract from the Koran, which states that every true Muslim must strive for knowledge. This saying was a kind of motto of Ulugbek himself. Next to it there is another inscription saying that the blessing of God awaits those who have grasped the wisdom of the books.
The wise ruler is known throughout the world for his many scientific achievements in the field of astronomy. And the astral decoration of the madrasah reflects Ulugbek’s desire to understand the mysteries of the heavens. If you look at the patterns and ornaments on the walls of the building, you will see that they are used in various techniques – it is associated with numerous restorations of madrasahs.