Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Akhmad Khodzha. Facade


This photograph of the Khodzha Akhmad mausoleum at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis in Samarkand 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, in 1867-82, of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire’s Central Asian territories were called. The album devotes special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Tamerlane and his successors. Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. The Khodzha Akhmad mausoleum was built in the 1360s, presumably for a local spiritual leader. Located at the end of the necropolis passageway in the northern cluster of shrines, the partially damaged monument displays vibrant ceramic work with floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns. The name of its designer—Fakhri-Ali—was revealed within a pattern in one of the ceramic tiles. The facade arch is flanked by glazed carved terracotta columns, and on either side of the arch is a terracotta band of script in the cursive Thuluth style. It reads in part: “Let Allah prolong their eternity to make the tomb a garden of happiness for Khodzha Akhmad.” On the far left is part of the facade of the Tuman-Aka mausoleum.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святого Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при ней. Мавзолей Ахмет-Ходжи. Фасад

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 47.

Last updated: September 30, 2016