Antiquities of Samarkand. Mosque of Khodzha Abdu-Berun. View of the Mosque from the Northwest


This photograph of the mausoleum 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 memorial complex (khanaka) was dedicated to a revered 9th-century Arab judge of the Abdi clan, with the word berun (outer) added to signify its location adjacent to a cemetery on the outskirts of Samarkand, and to distinguish it from another complex commemorating the sage that was located within the city. Although the original photographic caption identifies the structure as a mosque, it is more precisely a khanaka that includes a mausoleum (mazar), built in the first half of the 17th century by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier of the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. Shown here is the facade containing the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch (in shadows) and the side facade with blind arcading. The structure culminates in a cylinder and dome. Despite widespread damage, fragments of polychrome ceramic decoration are visible on the upper parts of the facade and on the cylinder, which displays a large inscription band.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мечеть Ходжи-Абду-Бирун. Вид мечети с северо запада

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 148.

Last updated: September 30, 2016