Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inscriptions Around the Main Niche of the Southern Facade


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 left side of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch in the middle of the south side of the cloistered courtyard. The outer surface of the iwan facade displays vertical bands of ceramic tiles in geometric patterns. Adjacent to the arch is an inscription band with stylized block Kufic letters. Above the iwan arch are remnants of faience mosaics with botanical figures. The larger surface within the arch niche is devoted to a geometric tile design whose intersecting lines create forms such as eight-pointed stars. The space within the lines is filled with intricate ceramic patterns. The cloister arcade on either side of the iwan has similar ornamentation.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Надыр Диван Беги. Надписи по сторонам главной ниши южнаго фасада

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