One of the major ancient madrasahs in Central Asia is Kukeldash Madrasah. It locates in the historical part of Tashkent near to Chorsu Bazaar. Ensemble of the main square of Tashkent, Kulkedash is a part of, was built in 1570. The central ensemble on the square is called Registan; every big ancient city had one. Traditionally, Registan is an architectural complex that is also the heart of any ancient city.
Kulkedash Madrassah was the liveliest part of an ancient Tashkent. There was a flourishing Chorsu Bazaar, where traders from all over the world met and sold their goods; caravanserais for travelers to get some rest before getting back on the road; citizens met there to hear their ruler’s announcements, and witness executions. Kukeldash was a place for public executions until 1865.
The area around madrassah was covered with sand, so it would absorb blood of victims. The initiative of creation of Kulkedash Madrasah was the vizier of the Shaybanid dynasty. He was close to Tashkent sultans Barak-Khan and Darwish Khan, so his name was “kukeltash” which means “milk- brother of Khan”. Architectural style of Kulkedash is a traditional Central Asian style of madrassah. Baked yellow bricks formed a large square-shaped, two-floor building with a large portal, with 2 guldasta, or towers, leading to inner courtyard. The inner courtyard had cells for students to study.
Unfortunately, Kulkedash went through several restorations, so the original appearance of the madrassah is lost forever. The first floor was ruined, so the bricks could be used to build Beklarbegi Mardasah in 1830. It was restored before disastrous earthquake in 1868. It was reconstructed again in 1902 and 1950. Although, it was restored quite a few times, original appearance of the building is lost, and it Kulkedash Madrassah can’t compete with madrassas in Samarkand or Tashkent, it’s still the largest madrassah in Tashkent.
Kulkedash madrassah has been through a lot: its purpose was changed from original religious purposes to a caravanserai, it experienced 2 earthquakes. Today, Kukeldash Madrassah is a spiritual center of Tashkent, a mosque with a school, where basis of Islam is being taught. People go there for Friday prayers and students study in cells.