Antiquities of Samarkand. Mosque of Khodzha Abdu-Berun. Tomb (sagana) of the Saint


This photograph of the grave at the Khodzha Abdu-Berun memorial complex 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. The Khodzha Abdu-Berun ensemble was dedicated to a revered 9th-century Arab judge of the Abdi clan, with the word berun (outer) added to specify its location adjacent to a cemetery on the outskirts of Samarkand, and to distinguish it from another ensemble commemorating the sage that was located within the city. The khanaka, or memorial mosque, was built in the first half of the 17thcentury by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier to the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. Shown here is the dakhma, or saint’s grave, a simple pointed rectangular form elevated on a stylobate surfaced with stone. In the background is the ensemble’s open summer mosque. The memorial mosque is to the left, but only its brick porch is visible, not the structure itself. To the right is a pool (also not visible), which created an oasis of greenery at the site. The ensemble signifies the antiquity of Islamic law in this area.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мечеть Ходжа Абду-Бирун. Гробница (сагана) святого

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 149.

Last updated: September 30, 2016