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Kukeldash madrasah of Tashkent

Kukeldash madrasah of Tashkent — photo 1

Visiting tours of Uzbekistan, near the Old City, right in the center of the historical part of Tashkent, there is Kukeldash Madrasah – one of the largest madrassahs operating today in all Central Asia.  This is one of the most important educational institutions where boys are still studying religious sciences, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy.

Kukeldash Madrasah was built in the second half of the 16th century on the initiative of the commander-in-chief of the army and a man close to the Sheibanid dynasty, who was popularly called Kukeldash, which in Uzbek means “milk brother”, as he was the younger (“milk”) brother of one of the khans of the Sheibanid dynasty.

The mosque was one of the important components of the ensemble of the Old City, the main urban area where Tashkent residents gathered. The main layout of the main madrasah in Tashkent used architectural methods of construction typical of that time.

It was built of burnt bricks, which were made of clay and hay, and then burned. Only one part of the ensemble became decorated. On the main portal in front of the entrance to the madrasah, there are preserved elements of tiled decoration typical of the 16th century, a striking example of this are glazed blue bricks and asymmetrical majolica. The construction of Kukeldash Madrasah represents the traditional architecture characteristic of all madrasahs of this period. There is also a wide palace square surrounded by small and modest hujras, with a darshana where prayers are recited and mosques in the corners. The main structure of the building has a wide portal entrance with two-level attics and corner high-rise towers – guilders.

The whole 18th century madrasah became a caravanserai for traveling merchants. As a result of its active and careless use, the towers of this attraction – the guilders – collapsed and have not survived to this day. In the 19th, century the madrasah was transformed into a fortress of Kokand khans.

In later times Kukeldash Madrasah was a place for public executions. So, from the upper part of the main portal-entrance to the stone square, unfaithful wives were thrown off in mesh bags to raise the level of popular morality.

The madrasah has now been restored and serves again the purpose for which it was built. Students live and study in the madrasah. Believers gather here for Friday’s prayer.

Canaan Travel invites you to visit this iconic landmark and experience the culture of the fabulous East.