Avicenna University

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İbn Sına Ünivärsitäsi
Avicenna University
İbn Sına Ünivärsitäsi Avicenna University Logo
Local Language(s) Tajik, Üzbek, Qazaq, Kırğız, Türkümän (Turkmen), Qaraqalpaq, Arabic
Established 1376
Location Samarqand, Turkestan
Enrollment 29,500
Faculty 1770
Rector Selim Enver-ulı
School Colours Green and White
Samarqand in Turkestan
Samarqand in Turkestan

Avicenna University is one of the five top higher education centres in Turkestan. It usually ranks in the top 3 for academic achievement.


The university was founded by Timür in 1376 after he closed the School of Samarqand and gave their property to start a new Islamic university that would rival or even exceed the reputation of the Assyrian Schools in Nisibis, Edessa and so on. Aping these Assyrian Schools, the İbn Sına University originally had three faculties. Unlike the Assyrian Schools, these were an Islamic madrasa, a faculty of astronomy and science, and a faculty of literature and poetry. Astronomy, in fact, is one of the sciences in which Muslim education is typically considered better than Assyrian schooling. Medicine tends to be the Assyrian speciality.

The propagation of Islam and Islamic scholarship was one of the primary historical reasons for the founding of İbn Sına University, and the modern university keeps up this tradition with the Faculty of Qur'anic Studies, with various specialisms including Islamic jurisprudence, Qur'anic interpretation and Islamic history.

In many ways, the early Avicenna University was something of a clone of the School of Samarqand that preceded it, but since those early times, and especially since the School of Samarqand was refounded in 1621, the two institutes of higher learning have developed their own identities.

The Modern University

The modern University has at least a dozen major faculties, and though it is slightly smaller than the School of Samarqand, it gives nothing away in terms of academic excellence.

The fact that two of the five top-flight universities of Turkestan are located in the city of Samarqand means that Avicenna University and the School of Samarqand have a strong tendency to define themselves in opposition to their rival. The rivalry between the two higher education centres can get fairly intense, though it has been at least a century and a half since there were fatalities attributable to the intermural contentions. There is still a high level of competitive feeling between the two, and if a person wearing School of Samarqand red and gold comes into a qımızhana staked out by Avicenna U. as their drinking establishment, there will be unfriendly looks at the best of times. Occasionally, tourists get caught in the crossfire, though for the most part, the local police are careful to keep things under strict control.

Despite the rivalry, the proximity of the two institutions has in recent years meant that some sharing of staff has been possible. The faculties of Medicine and Engineering at the School of Samarqand often receive students on loan from İbn Sına University, and Avicenna U.'s departments of Astronomy and Literature reciprocate by receiving loaned students from the School of Samarqand. This can sometimes lead to friction, but allows students better teaching in certain areas while still letting them graduate from their chosen university.

Avicenna U. is, apart from the Department of Qur'anic Studies, probably a little more secular than the School of Samarqand. The two universities' Ancient Languages departments concentrate in different directions; the School of Samarqand is focused on the Biblical languages of Koine Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, whereas Avicenna University takes in more of the ancient Turkic languages such as Avar, Cuman and Hunnic, as well as Ancient Persian and others. There are differences, too, in their respective Modern Languages faculties: Avicenna University has excellent Arabic, Osman Turkish and Azeri departments. The School of Samarqand focuses more on Western languages and Syriac.


  • Faculty of Qur'anic Studies
  • Faculty of Literature
  • Faculty of Astronomy
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of History
  • Faculty of Islamic Studies
  • Faculty of Politics and Economics
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Modern Languages
  • Faculty of Ancient Languages
  • Faculty of Comparative Theology

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