The Blue Tiles of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a treasure trove of Islamic architecture, renowned world over for its blue tiles adorning the buildings. In Islamic tradition blue (al-azraq) often signifies the depths of the universe & turquoise is thought to have mystical qualities.


The beautiful turquoise & azure tile mosaics adorning mosques & Islamic architecture is a highlight of Uzbekistan. Such as the ceramic-tiled walls of Tash Khauli in Khiva; the azure tile designs on the Registan madrassas & Shah-i-Zinda in Samarkand.

Tiles were intensively used for construction in Persia, but Uzbekistan ceramists brought the craftsmanship to its peak.



Uzbekistan tiles are renowned world over for their unique and varying shades of blue. To create the shades of blue, before firing, the tiles are painted with a mixture of quartz powder and different metal additions as oxides.


The unique colour of the tiles is owed to a very precise, age-old process. Among metals used, cobalt dominates. The tiles have an inimitable blue colour. The East Asian ceramic is dependent on such methods. The valuable cobalt was produced in large quantities in Thuringian and Saxon mountains and widely exported to Asia.

In the oven the tiles receive their luster and colourfulness at high temperatures, their ceramic density & water resistance.

Uzbekistan tile design usually consist of finely divided square elements, each containing a part or a whole ornament. By combining both, a large surface area can be covered.

Examples of large-area ornamental tile jewels in Uzbekistan show patterns of interconnections, alternations between straight-line and floral motifs, and the embedding of Arabic script.

Uzbekistan tile designs are centred around Islamic art principles, with geometric and biomorphic patterns taking centre stage Mosaic tiles, Uzbekistan.


Some geometric tile work adorning the building is subtle yet detailed Mosaic tiles, Uzbekistan.

Carved floral patterns inspired by the local natural environment are widely used in Uzbekistan tiles.

Delicately carved geometry is a distinguishing feature of Uzbekistan ceramics and tile design.

Each tile on Uzbekistan architecture is meticulously designed, every one is unique.

This ancient traditional art of tile production is still practiced by artisans in Uzbekistan.

Much of the Islamic architecture is regularly restored by these skilled artisans, who have worked on rebuilding the legacy of Uzbekistan architecture through tile production.

Beautiful blue mosaic tile work, Uzbekistan.


A jali is a perforated stone or latticed screen or window, with an ornamental pattern constructed through calligraphy, geometry or natural patterns. Jali windows are part of Uzbekistan architecture.


Beautiful jewel like hues of blue and turquoise are used to create geometric patterns


The natural sand & terracotta colours against the vivid blue is a distinguishing feature in Uzbekistan architecture.

Artists & designers all over the world are inspired by the tiles of Uzbekistan. Artist

@NatalieArtweave based in Australia has developed the Silk Inroads - a needlepoint project that translates tiles from the Silk Roads into needlepoint.