Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Section of the Foundation inside the Tomb


This sketch of the interior of the Gur-Emir mausoleum in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The six-volume photographic survey was produced in 1871-72 under the patronage of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-82) of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire’s Central Asian territories were called. The album devotes special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architectural heritage, including Gur-Emir (Persian for “tomb of the ruler”). Although known primarily as the burial place of Timur (Tamerlane), Gur-Emir was begun by Timur in 1403 to commemorate the death of his beloved grandson Muhammad Sultan at the age of 27. The shrine was still not complete at the time of Timur's own death from pneumonia in 1405. With his burial, Gur-Emir became the mausoleum of the Timurids. The interior was completed by Timur’s grandson Ulugh Beg, also buried at Gur-Emir. Shown here is a wall base on the main floor of the mausoleum interior. (Memorial sarcophagi are located on the main floor, beneath which is a level with the actual tombs.) This wall is surfaced with hexagonal tiles bordered by a ceramic strip whose intersecting lines form a geometric pattern. Above the horizontal strip is a segment of carved marble with projecting rows of “stalactite” dentilation. At the top is a cursive Perso-Arabic inscription band.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница Эмира Тимура Курагана. Часть цокуля внутри мавзолея

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 121.

Last updated: September 30, 2016