Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Bibi Khanym. View of a Northern Classroom
This photograph of the north mosque at the Bibi Khanym ensemble 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 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 and entrance structure to the primary courtyard, but also two flanking mosques. Like the other structures in the ensemble, the north mosque suffered major damage in this active seismic zone. Its dome had partially collapsed, and the facade of the main arch, or iwan, was deformed and missing much of its decorative surface. Intended for use as a madrasah, the mosque at the time of this photograph was largely abandoned and converted for use as storage space by the bazaar that occupied the central courtyard.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Биби-Ханым. Вид северной классной
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 74.
Last updated: September 30, 2016