Surely, the main tourist sight of Samarkand is the Registan Square, which represents all the beauty and authenticity of the Uzbek architecture in the Middle Ages. The first building, the Ulugbek Madrasah, dates back to 15th century, and in 17th century there was created a magnificent architectural ensemble of 3 madrasahs.
The Registan always was and is the main square of Samarkand. During the period of its greatest prosperity, when Samarkand was the capital of the empire of Timur, it was the center of culture and administration, but the first building, which survived until nowadays, the Ulugbek Madrasah, was constructed only a century later.
The word «registan» means «a sandy place» in Uzbek and every city of the Central Asia had such place, but today only Samarkand Registan is known all over the world. The oldest building on the Registan Square is the Ulugbek Madrasah, which was constructed by Ulugbek, the grandson of Timur, during 1417-1420, when Samarkand was still the single capital of the vast empire of Timur.
The next buildings appeared on the Registan Square already when the capital was moved from Samarkand to Bukhara, but the satrap of Bukhara Yalangtush Bakhodur wanting not to be inferior to his predecessors built even more splendid madrasah. In 1619-1636 opposite the Ulugbek Madrasah there was constructed the Sher-Dor Madrasah, which is, probably, the most beautiful building on the Registan Square.
Ten years later, during 1646-1660, between the madrsahs of Ulugbek and Sher-Dor there was built the Tilla-Kari Madrasah, which is also the main mosque, where prayers are held on Fridays and on holidays. The Tilla-Kari Madrasah finished the architectural ensemble of the Registan. You should see the inside of the madrasah. Its interiors were decorated with gold and majolica using the «kundale» technique. Such rich painting and gilding were aimed to strike the visitors by the view of luxury and wealth.
Convenient location of the Registan makes it possible for you to easily reach many of Samarkand sights on foot. On one side there are located the Guri Amir and Rukhabad mausoleums, as well as the monument of Timur. A bit farther, but within a walking distance, there are located the Bibi Khanym Mosque, and the memorial complex or necropolis of Shakhi Zinda.