Antiquities of Samarkand. Palace of the Bukharan Emirs, "Kok Tash." Door to the Reception Hall of the Emirs


This photograph of the interior of the palace of the emirs of Bukhara 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. The emirs of Bukhara ruled Samarkand after the expulsion of the Timurids in the early 16th century. Their palace was referred to as “Kok Tash” after the legendary throne of Timur (Tamerlane), who built a citadel in Samarkand. Shown here is one half of the main door to the palace reception hall. The wooden surface is divided into three panels with elaborate carved fretwork in symmetrically arranged curvilinear botanical patterns. In the right background is a seated figure looking out to the brightly-lit open courtyard. In 1868, Samarkand and its palace were captured by Russian forces led by von Kaufman. His conciliatory policy toward the local population and its elite is reflected in this album project, which also conveyed to the tsar the grandeur of the ancient culture brought into the domain of the Russian Empire. These photographs of what, until recently, had been the palace of the emirs signaled the transfer of power.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Дворец бухарских эмиров "Кок Таш". Дверь в приемною залу-эмиров

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 131.

Last updated: September 30, 2016