Antiquities of Samarkand. Namazga Mosque. Section of the Main Facade


This dramatic photograph of the Namazga Mosque 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. A namazga mosque was intended to mark Eid al-Fitr (a holiday observed at the end of the Ramadan fast), as well as Kurban, or Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. Built perhaps as early as the 11th century and rebuilt by the Timurids in the 15th century, the Namazga Mosque was replaced in the first half of the 17th century by Nadir Divan-Begi, a vizier and uncle of the Bukhara ruler Imam-Quli Khan. Located on the southern fringes of the city, this version of the namazga was completed around 1630. Visible on the right is the high main dome, elevated on a large cylinder, or drum, which is decorated with bands of ceramic tiles. At the center of the facade is an iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch that frames the entrance to the mosque. The central structure is flanked by one-story arcaded galleries, whose size is suggested by the standing figure. In contrast to other mosques of the period, the facades of the Namazga Mosque have little ceramic ornamentation.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мечеть Намазга. Часть главнаго фасада

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 133.

Last updated: September 30, 2016