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 and a mosque at one end. This view shows the middle part of the left flank of the niche formed by the main iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch that faces the street. The wall surface is composed of ceramic tiles whose intricate geometric pattern includes block Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The basic colors of the tiles are dark and light blue, with details in white, yellow, and orange. The back wall of the niche, dimly visible on the right, continues the ornamental pattern seen on the flank. On the far left is the outer surface of the iwan facade, which is decorated with faience panels.

Date Created

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