Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleums of Uldzh Inak and Bibi Zinet. View from South of the Exterior of the Mausoleums of Chugun Bek and Kutuluk Turdi Bek Aka


This dramatic view of mausoleums at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis in Samarkand is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The lavish edition in six volumes 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 primary compilers for the visual material were Aleksandr L. Kun, an Orientalist attached to the army, and Nikolai V. Bogaevskii, a military engineer. They devoted special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Tamerlane and his successors (the Timurids). Built on an ancient burial ground, Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. The two mausoleums shown here are at the top of a stairway to the second passageway chamber (chartak), from which the photograph is taken. On the left is the Mausoleum of Emir-Zade (1386), beyond which is the Mausoleum of Shadi Mulk Aka, also known as Turkan-Aka (1372). Because of their protected location, their intricate ceramic tile decoration (including patterned Arabic script) has been relatively well preserved. Of particular note are the glazed polychrome columns that flank the Shadi Mulk 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 Ульджа Инага и Биби Зинет. Вид с юга на наружные фасады мавзолеев Чугунъ Бика и Кутлук Турди Бек Ака

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 22.

Last updated: September 30, 2016