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


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 ceremonial palace in the city was referred to as “Kok Tash” after the legendary throne of Timur (Tamerlane), who built a citadel in Samarkand. This view, dimly lit with light from the courtyard, shows the palace reception hall, with an arch niche that would provide an imposing backdrop for the potentate. The arch culminates in a mocárabe, or “stalactite,” vault. Parts of the wall surface have ceramic decoration. 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". Ниша в приемной зале

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