Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi, Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque). Beginning


This photograph of the mosque at 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 to the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard with a mosque at one end. A monumental iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch occupies the center of the main facade of the mosque. This view shows the upper part of the right flank within the niche formed by the great arch. The wall surface displays geometric tile patterns that include floral motifs and block Kufic letters signifying words from the Kalima, the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. A horizontal ceramic inscription in Perso-Arabic script extends across the wall at the point where the flank curves inward to form the iwan arch. The intricate geometric pattern returns above the inscription. On the left is the back wall of the niche; on the far right is the outer wall of the iwan.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Надыр Диван Беги, соборная мечеть (мечети джами.) Начало

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 145.

Last updated: September 30, 2016