Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi, Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque). Entrance to the Mosque


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 of the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard with a mosque at the far end from the entrance. This view shows the main facade of the mosque with an iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch. At the center of the iwan niche is a portal arch (peshtak) flanked by faience ceramics and a lattice window above. The peshtak is framed by botanical patterns, while the area above the pointed arch is covered with faience work and a horizontal inscription band. The back wall of the iwan niche displays geometric tile patterns including block Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The main facade rises from a marble base in a remarkable display of faience mosaics and geometric patterns. On either side is a one-story cloister arcade.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Надыр Диванъ Беги, соборная мечеть (мечети джами.) вход в мечеть

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 144.

Last updated: September 30, 2016