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"Gold, gold and more gold" Top 5 Page for this destination Registan Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Registan, Samarkand: 51 reviews and 137 photos

by TheWanderingCamel
  • Breathtaking - Samarkand
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • A king's ransom - Samarkand
      A king's ransom
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Dazzling - Samarkand
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Then and now - Samarkand
      Then and now
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Trop l'oeuil - Samarkand
      Trop l'oeuil
    by TheWanderingCamel

Under Russian supervision, over 1000 square metres of gold leaf was used to restore the interior of the Tillya-Kari mosque on Samarkand's Registan. Exquisite as the work is on the walls and the honey-comb topped mihrab, it is the dome that is truly breath-taking - the more so when you realize the ceiling is not actually domed at all, it is actually quite flat and it is the skilful use of a diminishing pattern that creates the illusion.

Not that gold was the only precious material used in the original decoration - then the wonderful blue pigment was true ultramarine - ground by hand from lapiz lazuli - the most costly of pigments, every bit as expensive as gold. The sythetic ultramarine available today may almost replicate the colour but, having a smaller and uniform particle structure, there's no way it can reflect the light in the same way as the varying sized particles in a pigment ground from living rock. Given how dazzling the effect is today, imagine how breathtaking it must have been when it was first completed.

What we see now is all restoration - but over in a corner a square has been left to show the state the decoration was in before restoration started.

Outside the mosque, the tiled faces of the building are covered in floral and sun-like patterns in blue and yellow and there is a tranquil garden in the great centre courtyard.

Directions: The Tillya-Kari is on the north axis of the Registan.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 6, 2009
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