Antiquities of Samarkand. Shrine of Chupan-Ata. General View from the Southwest


This photograph of the Chupan-Ata mausoleum on the outskirts of 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. This view of the mid-15th century Chupan-Ata mausoleum (mazar) reveals severe damage to both the structure and the dome, as well as to the surrounding wall of sun-dried (adobe) brick. The elevated position of the structure might have increased the risk of damage in this active seismic zone, yet the high dome, raised on a cylinder, is structurally intact. The name of the mazar means “father of shepherds,” a reference to a popular local cult. No traces of ceramic decoration remain; the exterior seems to have been surfaced with a stucco-like material as a conservation measure. The mausoleum has a centralized design, with four arches rising from the basic cuboid structure and beveled corners buttressing the cylinder beneath the dome. The figure standing on the roof gives an idea of the scale. The sun-baked ground appears to be littered with brick rubble.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мазар Чопан-Ата. Общий вид с юга запада

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 151.

Last updated: September 30, 2016