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 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 part of the facade to the left of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch of the entrance structure. The pointed arch in the lower panel contains botanical figures of polychrome faience within an intricate geometric design. The damaged panel above displays a rectilinear geometric design with floral elements. The panels are framed by a border of floral motifs connected by a delicate tendril pattern. Despite their lack of color, such detailed photographs convey significant information for the study of the original ceramic ornamentation of Samarkand’s architectural monuments.

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