Antiquities of Samarkand. Mosque of Khodzha Akhrar. Bottom. Inscription on the Tombstone at the Grave of Khodzha Akhrar


This photograph of the interior of the Khodzha Akhrar shrine 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. Seen here is the bottom half of the tombstone at the grave of Khodzha Akhrar (1403-89), a renowned 15th-century mystic, ascetic, and adherent of Sufism who wielded great spiritual influence in Central Asia during the final decades of the Timurid dynasty. He is said to have established mosques not only in Samarkand, but also in Bukhara, Herat, and Kabul. The Khodzha Akhrar ensemble in Samarkand contained several structures, including a winter and a summer mosque, as well as a cemetery. Located inside the mosque, the grave marker is framed by a carved inscription band in elaborate cursive Perso-Arabic script. As with the upper half of the stone, the main part of the surface is recessed and consists of further inscriptions related to the life of the saint. This extraordinary display of carved text is an indication of the importance of the Khodzha Akhrar shrine as a pilgrimage site.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мечеть Ходжи-Ахрара. Низ. Надпись надгробнаго камня на могиле Ходжа Ахрара

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 141.

Last updated: September 30, 2016