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Madrasah Ulugbek in Gizhduvan.

Day trip in Bukhara.

“Repaired by order of His Majesty, elevated as Saturn... worthy of Solomon, brave as Alexander Nushirvan, peace and state and faith strengthener Abdul-Ghazi Abdullah Bahadurhan, may Allah prolong his reign" "Ended in the months of 991, with diligence"

Tours to the ancient cities of Uzbekistan on the Silk Road.

One of the monuments, as far as we know, not mentioned in the scientific literature, was discovered by us two years ago in the large village of Gizhduvan, 40 kilometers from Bukhara. The building is interesting by the fact that it is the third madrasa built at Ulugbek and, thus, adds to the list of buildings erected to our time.
Secondly, it is important as a monument relating to one of the most brilliant eras of Central Asian architecture, due to the emergence of a vast Timurov empire, the concentration of considerable wealth in the hands of the Emir and the ruling classes, the influx of cheap labor in the form of captured slaves and industrial activities of Central Asian cities.
The architecture of this epoch is sharply different in both formal and internal content from the architectural art of previous eras. Born by the great-power tendencies of the emirate, it was striving for the grandeur of its design, the monumental form and richness of glittering azure and gold jewelry to eclipse everything erected earlier.
The influx of artists and architects, assembled from areas conquered by Timur, mainly Persia, determined the eclectic character of this architecture, which absorbed the diverse elements along with the old Central Asian tradition.
As a result of the merging of these heterogeneous elements, architecture emerged, which has its own canon, its own particular style, which was a major contribution to world architecture. During the reign of Timur alone (1370 - 1405), the style evolved from small buildings that were tightly connected with the old local tradition (early mausoleums in Shakhi Zinda.
Belonging to the Timur era, parts of Chaima-Ayub in Bukhara, etc.) to its highest expression in the mosque Bibi-Khanim. Intensive construction activity continued under Ulugbek, the grandson of the conqueror, and the Timurids that followed him, when, on the eve of the fall of the short-lived Timurov empire, which was steadily preparing for both crises inside the country and a new wave of conquerors, palaces, mosques, and madrasa were built, characterized by severity of forms and splendor decorative furniture.
The heyday of cultural life reaches its zenith, which is followed by a slow and gradual decline that has occurred over several centuries. In architecture, this extinction is reflected in the fact that the architectural types created by Timur and his successors, general ensembles and building plans remain the same models for subsequent centuries, which later builders imitate, introducing almost nothing fundamentally new. The evolution of style, of course, continues along with changes in economic and political factors, but it affects, for the most part, only in the interpretation of individual elements of the building, the greater mannered sophistication of the scenery, which at the same time loses the technical perfection of performance achieved in the XIV - XV centuries. 
Forces were a poor country, but in the development of some constructive methods, mainly in the system of dome ceilings, madrasas built by Ulugbek are the oldest structures of this type in Central Asia. In them we see already fully established architectural type.
Whether this type was worked out earlier, or only in the Timurid era, it found its expression is unknown. It can only be said definitely that the Ulugbek madrasahs are the last word of this evolution, since in the future madrasas of later periods, the Ulugbek forms were repeated, allowing only minor deviations.
The Gizhduvan madrasah of Ulugbek is one of the main parts of the architectural ensemble, which arose with a very popular and enjoyed reverence and fame far beyond the borders of the Gizhuvan district, the mazar of Abdul-Halyk Gizhduvani, the famous mystical Sufi.
The building of the madrasa is not large. It is oriented to the east. Comparison of the three madrasahs erected by Ulugbek gives us, as it was explained above, a very definite idea of ​​the main basic elements of the madrasah as an architectural type and their mutual correlation.
The most characteristic of all madrasas are the significant development of the portal part, with a huge decorative peshtak, two large domed rooms on either side of the entrance, serving as an audience or a mosque, almost a square courtyard surrounded by one or two floors of arches, under which are the entrances to the cells Hudzhra.
The plans of all three madrasas are mostly symmetrical. But a comparison of these monuments shows some of the individual characteristics inherent in each of them, consisting mainly in the following. In Samarkand, the richest and largest in size madrasah, under the big arch of the portal there are two separate, not communicating, entrances inside, which diverge in different directions by the cranked corridors and go out into the courtyard of the building.
The dome rooms on both sides of the entrance, taking into account the enormous size of the structure, are relatively underdeveloped and the center of gravity has been moved to the back, western part, where a large mosque audience and two significant both sides are erected next to it.
Large arches, the height of both floors, dividing the arcades of each side of the courtyard into two parts, are located on all its four sides. Hujras were once located on two floors (the top floor was not preserved). On the front facade of the building, on the sides of the peshtak, there is no hujr portal, there are only slightly in-depth decorative arches.
All four corners of the building end in high minaret towers. There are small side portals on the south and north facades. In Bukhara madrassa, which probably served as a model for all the major madrassas of Bukhara, and in later times Tashkent, Kokand, Khiva and other cities, unlike Samarkand, under the arch of the portal there is only one entrance inside, which is directly behind the gate is divided into two cranked exit to the yard.
The premises of the mosque and darshana, symmetrically located in front of the building, acquire a much greater relative importance. Large arches in the courtyard were erected only on the northern side opposite to the entrance of the courtyard and on the south between the exits to the courtyard.
On the front facade of the building, on the sides of the portal, there are two levels of hujra arches, four on each side. The flanking towers of the front facade, apparently, are partially or completely shifted during one of the building repairs. They are deprived of facing and do not give an opportunity to judge their former height.
Thus, the madrasah in Bukhara, built a little earlier than Samarkand, more modest and in size and decoration gives a picture of a significant simplification of the basic forms. Madrasah in Gijduvan third Ulugbek madrasah - even more simplified in its plan and modest in size.
Under the slender peshtak of the front facade, which seems particularly high, thanks to the insignificant height of the building’s adjacent walls, which have only one floor, a double-winged, carved door leads to a small domed passage, and through it - directly to the madrasah yard.
On the sides of the entrance there are both traditional rooms: on the right is the mosque, on the left is darskhana. The nearly square courtyard of the madrasah is surrounded by a one-story arcade, under which there are entrances of ten hujras.
Four hujras are located on the south and north sides and two on the west. A large arch is built only on the west, opposite the entrance side. On the front facade, as in the Samarkand madrasah, there are no hujras, and also, as there, there are false arches of decorative significance.
From the inner parts of the madrasah, it is necessary to dwell in some detail on the description of the mosque and darshan. Being, as mentioned above, symmetrically located on both sides of the entrance, they are the same in their plans. These are oblong rooms, each divided into three parts by strongly protruding foundations.
The abutments are connected in pairs of pointed arches. Each of the three parts thus formed is covered by a vault. The middle of these arches has, moreover, a lantern-dome on a low hexagonal drum, cut through by windows that illuminate the room.
The walls of both rooms are plastered with alabaster and devoid of any decorations. Hudjras madrasahs are small rooms, covered in four cases with cupolas, and in the rest - with simple pointed vaults. In terms of external decoration, the Gijduvan madrasah is very similar to the Bukhara one, both in terms of its technical methods and in its ornament.
This similarity is aggravated by the fact that both madrasas underwent a thorough repair at the end of the XVIth century. A variety of techniques in facing both madrassas (Bukhara and Gijduvan) does not quite large, and limited to curly computation of simple unglazed and the glazed blue and blue blocks constituting a simple geometric pattern, or rhythmically alternating brief Kufic inscriptions and majolica tiles filling tampany arches or components of printing strips in different parts of the building.
As in that, and in another madrasa, a significant part of the decaying corner of the Ugbekovskaya lining by that time was replaced by a new one - Abdullakhanovskaya. The masters of the time of Abdullakhan (late 16th century), working with their very characteristic techniques, did not try to imitate the ornament and technique of the Timurid era, the technique that was only repeated half a century before them in the majolica of Mir-Arab and the Great Mosque in Bukhara.
Because of this, the elements introduced by the builders of the XVI century, are easily recognized in the cladding. The main distinguishing features of both types of majolica are that the majolica slabs of Ulugbek's time are made with a large, clear pattern with emphasized contours.
The majolica tones are blue, white, and blue with gold. In the majolica of the end of XVI, the pattern diminished, turning into an extremely characteristic “fine-cut” section of spiral shoots, fancy leaves and flowers. The contours of the pattern are somewhat confused and adjacent tones swim in one another.
Tones: white, blue, blue and green. There is no gilding. There are no carved tiled mosaics or carved marble inlays that the Samarkand madrasah is so rich in these two madrasas. The only part of the Gijduvan madrasa that wears a solid lining is its front facade.
The portal pylons, divided by horizontal rods into three rectangles - panels, are decorated with a display of colored glazed bricks of blue and blue colors with simple unglazed, giving simple geometric ornaments. The same technique is used in the decoration of the walls and towers adjoining the portal in the corners. In the latter case, the bricks are lined with rectangular Kufic inscriptions.
Above the arch of the entrance to the madrasah yard, encircling the foundations to the gable wall, there is a horizontal wide strip of inscription in white letters on a blue background. The inscription was preserved fragmentary, but the beginning and the end of it are read without difficulty.
This is followed by a large space in which individual tiles survived, retaining only fragments of phrases. “This is a great place, a dwelling, like a paradise garden the greatest sultan, the gracious Khakan the savior of the world and faith Ulugbek Kuragan, may Allah prolong his governorship.”
The very end of the inscription collapsed. At the edge of the last of the surviving plates, at the very fracture near the upper edge are clearly read at the end of the figure (36). Since, in our opinion, the numbers at the end of such an inscription may refer to nothing other than the date of construction of the building, the date of its completion should be 836 AH, i.e. 1433 n. e.
Therefore, the described monument is the latest of the three madrasas built by Ulugbek. Above the small arch that serves as the entrance to the courtyard, there are still a few tiles of Ulugbek majolica, part of the majolical filling of the tympanum of this arch, and on both sides of it, in two rectangles - two lines of the inscription, made in a typical Abdullakhanovsky manner. In this inscription, as well as in the above, there are significant gaps.
"Repaired by the order of His Majesty, elevated as Saturn worthy of Solomon, brave as Alexander Nushirvan, peace consolidator, state and faith Abdul-Ghazi Abdullah Bahadurhan, may Allah prolong his reign." The side of the left half of the inscription is written in small letters:
"Completed in the months of 991, diligence..." Thus, the task was repaired in the years 991 - 1583, i.e. just 150 years after its construction. The courtyard of the madrasa is devoid of facing or, in any case, has not preserved it to this day, although there are places for facing in masonry walls here and there.
The only exception is the large arch on the west side of the courtyard, lined inside with the same figured display of colored bricks as the front facade. The beveled outer edge of this arch is decorated with several majolica tiles, glued at random, without any adherence to the pattern, with one of the later repairs.
Directly opposite the entrance to the madrasah is the Khoja Abdul-Halyk mazar, enclosed in a small courtyard enclosed on the northern, eastern and southern sides by a brick fence. From the southern side, a canopy on five wooden pillars adjoins this fence from the inside.
On the west side, the courtyard is closed by a mosque consisting of a shed on two wooden pillars. Poles on stone pedestals and topped with stalactite stitched capitals. On one of the pedestals, there is an inscription half-erased in time, which reads:
“This blessed building was completed with the help of Hazret Shah Sultan in 947” (1541 N. C,) Taking into account the undoubted repairs and alterations, the mosque itself seems to refer to the time indicated in the inscription. A wooden mihrab with a stalactite niche, which has three rows of stalactites and a small half dome, is interesting in the mosque.
The laid on (on glue) star-shaped ornament covering the mihrab has mostly crumbled and bears the traces of the once motley coloring on it. Against the mosque, almost in the middle of the courtyard, the dakhma with the sheikh’s grave is lined with gray stone slabs.
There is no tombstone, only on the western side of the dakhma there is a marble slab attached (on the stone there is a date of its manufacture - 1331 (1913) with an inscription stating several chronograms of “tarichs” on the death of the sheikh.
From the western, northern and partly southern sides of the madrasa and mazar are surrounded by an extensive cemetery. On the south side, residential buildings of the village adjoin the madrasah. This is, in general terms, a very interesting complex of buildings that has arisen over the centuries around the famous mazar, the nest of the Khoja who live to their last days, waiting for more and more rare pilgrims.
This complex is also interesting in that its individual parts, as we have shown above, are dated with modern construction inscriptions, which in the complete absence of literary sources is of great importance.

Doctor of Historical Sciences V. A. Shishkin.