Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Inscription along the Sides and inside the Main Entry Niche


This photograph of a detail of the main entrance arch to the courtyard 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 at the age of 27. When Timur was buried there in 1405, Gur-Emir became the mausoleum of the Timurids. Shown here is the left flank of the niche within the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch of the entrance structure. Despite damage to the facade, the four levels in this view present an array of polychrome ceramic ornamentation. The pointed arch panel at the bottom contains floral motifs within an intricate geometric design. The panel above displays a decorative grid and floral elements. The next panel contains a Perso-Arabic inscription in elongated script intertwined with a floral pattern. The top level is a horizontal band composed of faience segments with radiant floral figures.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура Курагана (Гуремир). Надписи посторонам и внутри главной входной ниши

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 119.

Last updated: September 30, 2016