Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inscriptions Around the Main Niche of the Northern 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 an iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch in the cloistered courtyard. Although severely damaged, the outer surface of the iwan facade displays an inscription band with elongated cursive letters (Thuluth script). Adjacent to the arch are remnants of vertical bands of ceramic tiles in geometric patterns. Surrounding the point of the iwan arch (at left) are fragments of faience mosaics with botanical figures. Floral motifs are also dimly visible at the back of the arch niche. The space within these lines is filled with intricate polychrome ceramic patterns. The basic color is dark blue, with details in white, yellow, orange, and green.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

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