Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Inscription on One of the Doors


This photograph of a door panel at 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. His sudden death at the age of 27 deprived Timur of his chosen successor. The shrine was not yet completed at the time of Timur's own death from pneumonia in 1405. With his burial there, Gur-Emir became the Timurid mausoleum. This view of the left side of a wooden door, probably within the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) of the entrance arch, displays a panel of intricate relief carving as a background for cursive, elongated Arabic letters. Beneath this square panel is a larger carved design with floral and tendril figures that frame an arched geometric pattern containing diamonds over fretwork. The weathered appearance of the door shows the effects of time, but the carving has been relatively well preserved in this dry climate.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура Курагана (Гуремир). Надпись на одной из дверей

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 120.

Last updated: September 30, 2016