Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan. View of the Southern Facade of the Mausoleum


This photograph 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 a south view of the mausoleum, with remnants of a large iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch (left) on the west facade. In the left background is the remaining minaret of the original four. Despite major damage over the centuries in this active seismic zone, the central part of the ensemble survived, including the drum and great ribbed dome with blue ceramic tile cladding. The drum has monumental ceramic inscriptions in elongated Perso-Arabic script, while the walls of its octagonal base are covered with block Kufic script forming words from the Islamic proclamation of faith. The men at the base of the drum give a sense of its scale.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура Курагана. Вид южнаго фасада мавзолея

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 117.

Last updated: September 30, 2016