Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of Guri Bibi Khanym. General View of the Mausoleum


This photograph of the Bibi Khanym 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 architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. The mausoleum was built at the same time as the nearby main mosque (1399-1405) and like the mosque was named in homage to Timur’s senior wife, Sarai Mulk Khanym, (bibi being “lady” or “mother”). Indeed, the structure appears to have been connected to the mosque by a long passageway. The mausoleum is thought to have served not only as the burial shrine for Sarai Mulk Khanym, but also for other women of the ruling family. As with all monuments in the Bibi Khanym ensemble, the mausoleum suffered severe damage in this active seismic zone. This view shows fragments remaining of the pointed dome that arose over a cruciform plan within an octagonal structure. The surviving masonry walls of the mausoleum have also lost their original decorative patterns of ceramic tiles. In the foreground is a brick house with a flat roof supported by embedded log beams.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей (Гури) Биби-Ханым. Общий вид мавзолея

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 85.

Last updated: September 30, 2016