Turkestan Album, Historical Part


In the mid-to-late 19th century, the Russian Empire expanded into Central Asia, annexing territories located in present-day Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Tsar Alexander II approved the establishment of the governor-generalship of Russian Turkestan in 1867. General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general, commissioned the Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of the region that includes some 1,200 photographs, along with architectural plans, watercolor drawings, and maps. The work is in four parts, spanning six large, leather-bound volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The compiler of the first three parts was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. Production of the album was completed in 1871–72. The fourth part was compiled by Mikhail Afrikanovich Terentʹev (born 1837), a Russian military officer, orientalist, linguist, and author who participated in the Russian expedition to Samarkand of 1867−68. Presented here is the “Historical Part,” containing 211 individual photographs and maps on 79 plates. The photographs include individual and group portraits of officials and military personnel, as well as views of citadels, fortifications, cities and villages, churches, ruins, and monuments commemorating soldiers killed in battle. The Library of Congress acquired a complete set of the volumes in 1934; other surviving copies are in the National Library of Uzbekistan and the National Library of Russia.

Last updated: September 30, 2016