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Research Work by the FH Potsdam in Uzbekistan

Since 2002, professors from the departments of CITY | BUILDING |CULTURE and Civil Engineering have been cooperating with various universities in Uzbekistan. This has resulted in various projects.

Research project
Design ∙ Build ∙ Preserve
Federal Foreign Office, Cultural Preservation Programme

Preliminary note

The Timur-Lenk (Tamerlanh) Empire stretched from Delhi almost to the gates of Damascus, from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Aral Sea. The capital of the Timurid Empire was Samarkand. To make his capital magnificent and unique, he gathered the best artists and craftsmen from his great empire. During his reign, magnificent buildings were erected, bearing the influences of Persia, India, Mesopotamia and Azerbaijan. Using a highly developed technique of craftsmanship, he created ensembles of buildings whose faience and tile coverings are exemplary in their colourfulness and execution. Unique ceramic carvings, whose different levels were glazed differently, were created. New firing and glazing techniques with seven different colours developed. The building style of this period was characterised by large arches and domes, tower arrangements, magnificent façades and mock vivans. The four-van system was adopted from Persia.

Restoration of the tomb of Shadi Mulk-Aga in Samarkand

1st research project 2004 - 2005

Project management: Prof. Dr. Martina Abri
Collaborators: Dipl.-Ing. Sven Wallasch, Institute for Building Research and Conservation, FH-Potsdam, Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Rödiger, cand. arch. David Stermann

On the outskirts of Samarkand, south of the Afrasiab, a funerary road 120 m long stretches up the slope, whose colourfulness and splendour do not seem to fit the usual ideas about death and the grave. The various burial structures, which are lined up like pearls on a string in certain rhythms along the curved road, were created with the highest level of craftsmanship. Each individual entrance is staged. The tomb of the Shadi-Mulk-Aga was built around 1372. Today, the ceramic surface of the interior has major flaws that severely detract from the overall appearance. Movements and deformations of the structure, which consists of weakly fired mud bricks and a mud-lime-gypsum mortar, have caused the tile compartments to spall. The aim of the measures planned for 2004 and 2005 was to conserve and secure the existing structure, i.e. the walls and the dome, and to restore and reconstruct defective sections with partial losses and losses according to the original model. In order to carry out these restoration measures, a building survey, an inventory with damage analysis and a restoration concept with a moulded stone catalogue were prepared in advance.

Restoration of the main vivan of the Abdulasis-Chan Medrese in Bukhara

2nd research project 2006 - 2008

Project management: Prof. Dr. Martina Abri
Collaborators: Dipl.-Ing. Sven Wallasch, Institute for Building Research and Conservation, cand. rest. Nora Pietrowski, cand. rest. Kamilla Usabajev

The former medrese Abdulasis-Chan was built in 1652 by the ruler of the same name in the centre of Bukhara. The ground plan was designed according to Persian principles, the four iwans are arranged opposite each other, i.e. in the shape of a cross. The iwans, especially the entrance iwan, are extensively covered with tiles of the Haft Rang and faience mosaic technique. Many of these high-quality ceramic elements have been destroyed or lost over time. Our work focused on the conservation and restoration of the main iwan, which was carried out together with students of restoration and Uzbek craftsmen and monument conservators.

Conservation of the Echtchat Chane in Samarkand

3rd research project 2009

Project management: Prof. Dr. Martina Abri, Prof. Dr. Steffen Laue
Collaborators: Dipl.-Ing. Sven Wallasch, Institute for Building Research and Conservation

One of the most beautiful buildings from the late Timurid period of 1564 is the Echtchat-Chane building on the outskirts of the city of Samarkand. It is one of the most important spatial creations from this period. Its use is disputed; the name in Persian clearly states that it was a "love house". The structure of the room could support this theory. However, grave finds of women and children point to a mausoleum. Today, the building is in a very damaged condition. Together with the craftsmen and monument conservators from Uzbekistan, the condition is being secured, documented and a concept of measures developed and implemented. Rehna Teßmann made this topic her master's thesis.

Project management

Prof. Dr. Steffen Laue
Professor of Natural Sciences in the Conservation and Restoration programme

Other participants

Project management

  • Dipl.-Ing. Sven Wallasch
  • Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Rödiger
  • cand. arch. David Stermann
  • cand. rest. Nora Pietrowski
  • cand. rest. Kamilla Usabajev