Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Bibi Khanym. View of the Main Entry from the Interior


This photograph of the ruins of the Bibi Khanym entrance structure 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 architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. Built in 1399-1405 with the spoils of Timur’s victorious campaign in India, the Bibi Khanym ensemble was designated the city’s main mosque and named in homage to Timur’s senior wife, Sarai Mulk Khanym (bibi meaning “lady” or “mother”). Intended to be one of the largest mosques in the Islamic world, the ensemble included not only the main mosque (a corner of which is visible here on the far left), but also a grand structure that served as an entrance to the primary courtyard, from which this view is taken. The ensemble suffered major damage from seismic activity over the centuries but the monumental entrance arch is still evident in this view, as is the enormous hulk of the ruined flanking towers. In the foreground are the flat roofs of the mud-brick buildings of a bazaar, within which is a small mosque, also damaged.

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Биби-Ханым. Вид главнаго входа с внутренней стороны

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 72.

Last updated: September 30, 2016