Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Main Door on the Northern Facade


This photograph 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. With Timur’s own burial there in 1405, Gur-Emir became in effect the mausoleum of the Timurids. Shown here is the main door in the north facade. Embellished with carved geometric decoration, the door culminates in a semicircular lattice opening that is both decorative and functional. The door is set within a vertical frame whose wooden panels display high relief carving of botanical motifs. The central panel contains a particularly elaborate arabesque, with leaf figures grouped in a symmetrical lozenge pattern. The panels are bordered at the corner with another carved strip of interlocking motifs. Dimly visible on the left side is the ceramic surface of the interior wall.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура-Курагана (Гуремир). Главная дверь на северном фасаде

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 118.

Last updated: September 30, 2016