Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inscriptions Around the Inner Main Niche in Front of the Door from Outside


This photograph of the Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah 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. Located next to the Khodzha Akhrar shrine, this madrasah (religious school) was completed in 1631 by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier and uncle of the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a one-story cloister for scholars. This view shows the upper part of the back wall of the niche formed by the main iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch facing the street. The wall surface is composed of ceramic tiles in a geometric design that includes sacred texts in block Kufic script. At the point where the flank of the niche curves toward the arch vault, there is a horizontal inscription in cursive letters. The basic colors of the tiles are dark and light blue, with details in white, yellow, and orange. The left flank of the niche is dimly visible on the far left. In general the monumental ceramic work in these photographs shows substantial damage, due partly to frequent seismic activity in this region.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Надыр Диван Беги. Надписи идущие внутри главной ниши при входе с улицы

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 143.

Last updated: September 30, 2016