Location: Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Architect: Construction ordered by Yalangtush Bakhodur
Date Built: 1619-1636
What Society Built it: Khanate of Bukhara
An elite Islamic school (madrasah), the Sher-Dor Madrasah was built in the Registan square between 1619 and 1636 opposite to its complement, the two-centuries old Ulugh Beg Madrasah. It was ordered constructed by the governor of Samarkand Yalangtush Bakhodur, a military representative of the Khanate of Bukhara, the masters of Central Asia at the time. Built on the site of the khanqah (a Sufi lodge and hostel) of the Ulugh Beg Madrasah, it took inspiration from the older Madrasah's layout, though lacking mosque facilities and primarily acting as a school. Often considered the most striking of Registan's three madrasahs, it has written on it verses of the Qur'an and is adorned with beautiful mosaics. The most prominent — and potentially sacrilegious — are the murals of two lions chasing deer (the deer are not depicted in the Minecraft build, due to a lack of space). The lions are resemble tigers, which was perhaps done to exploit a loophole against the Islamic law against depicting live animals or human beings. This mural is an example of cultural exchange with nearby Iran, as the work resembles those found in Persia.
Registan is an icon of Samarkand; the heart of the ancient city adorned by three striking madrasahs. These three , Sher-Dor, Ulugh Beg, and Tilya-Kori, date from as far back as the early 15th century when Timurid conquerors were masters of the city. The name Registan literally means "sandy place"; a site initially reserved for public executions where bloodied sand could be changed easily. It also served as a public square, where royal proclamations would be read to the public. During the Timurid Renaissance, a revival of arts and sciences in the Muslim world, the first madrasah was built by the Timurid Mirza Ulugh Beg. Centuries later, the Khanate of Bukhara built the other two, one in the form of Ulugh Beg's and the other in a completely different form. These madrasahs were the most prestigious schools in the city, educating leading scholars of the time.
The lion mural gives the Madrasah its name: Sher-Dor translates to lion-bearing.
The mural above the entrance depict swastikas, which symbolized abundance and fertility in ancient times.
Many theories exist as to the reason for the taboo of animal imagery, from the lions representing the governor's power, or that the depiction of the sun shows the perseverance of pre-Islamic Zoroastrian solar symbolism. Nevertheless, legend has it that the architect died for the heresy.
Length: 606 blocks
Width: 493 blocks
Height: 243 blocks
Total blocks: 6176551
Build time: 57.6 hours