Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inner Door. Inscription above the Entry to the Cell


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 enclosed by a one-story arcaded cloister for scholars and a mosque at the opposite end from the main entrance. This view shows the upper part of the wall within the niche formed by one of the cloister arches. At the bottom is a portion of the lattice window above the door to the cloister cell (khujra). The window is framed by a polychrome ceramic border with floral motifs. Above the window is a horizontal inscription in light and dark Perso-Arabic script, written on two levels. The larger niche wall around these central elements is also covered with faience floral patterns. This array of ceramic ornamentation no doubt was intended to suggest the entrance to the Garden of Paradise.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Надыр Диван Беги. Внутрен. двор. Надпись над входною дверью в келию

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 146.

Last updated: September 30, 2016