In 1652, opposite Ulugbek Madrassah, Bukhara’s ruler Abdulazizkhan ordered to build in so called “kosh” technique a new madrassah, whose grandeur and luxury of decoration had to surpass all other madrassahs built before. And indeed, though the general design of the madrassah followed the 15th century architectural canons, the great dimensions and rich decoration allowed this structure to be ranked with the most outstanding architectural monuments of Uzbekistan.
The tall portal of Abdulazizkhan Madrassah dominates all other neighbouring structures. Vertical rows of relief arches accentuate its flanks. Unlike earlier madrassahs, in which the complete surface of tympanums was decorated with the girih geometrical patterns, the facade of this madrassah is covered with islimi patterns of foliate motifs. All over the portal there are patterns of interlacing stalks with buds and leaves. In between there are artistically inserted images of fabulous Semurg birds. Extremely beautiful is carved mosaics decorating the flank arched panels; it shows gorgeous bouquets of fantastic flowers in vases. Sharafa multi-tier stalactites crown the lancet arch of the portal, as if trying to reach the sky…
Abdulazizkhan is known as not only a stern emir but also as a mysticism-oriented poet. Among his courtiers there were philosophers and poets. At the court they used to hold disputes and poetry contests which Abdulazizkhan himself took part in.
To express the high spirituality of the ruler the architects resorted to bright picturesqueness of the mardassah decorative allegories. The dome of the winter mosque was decorated with kundal painting of gold against a blue relief background, which gave the impression that it was soaring over the intricate system of stalactite pendentives and abutments. According to historian Muhammad Munshi, the dome “in its high perfection rose like a chrysolite vault of the heaven”. The ceilings of the two classrooms were spanned with moulded gunch plaster plafonds of very intricate geometrical form. But for all that, the structural elements are lost in extremely exquisite decorative ornament which bears the motifs of clouds and tongues of flame.
The names of the constructors of this madrassah are known; they are: chief architect Muhammad Salih, painter-calligrapher Mavlyan Muhammad Amin and his son the mosaic artist Mim-Khakan. They decorated the classroom of the madrassah with romantic architectural and park landscape pictures. Even the walls of hujra cells contain moderate size decorative panels with picturesque images of flower bouquets. Such a sumptuous variety of decorative patterns as well as application in the decoration of the religious construction of non-standard interior paintings celebrate the gorgeous completion of the medieval architecture in Asia.