Antiquities of Samarkand. Mosque of Khodzha Akhrar. Top. 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 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 in the mosque, this grave marker is framed by a carved inscription band in elaborate cursive Perso-Arabic script. The central part of the surface is recessed and consists of further inscriptions framed by a pointed arch decorated with botanical figures and surmounted with an eight-pointed star. Above the arch point is a corbelled “stalactite” element supporting the main sacred inscription. The Khodzha Akhrar shrine was an important pilgrimage site.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мечеть Ходжи-Ахрара. Верх. 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