Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Southern Side). Main Niche


This photograph of the courtyard of the Tillia Kari 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 architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. In the center of Samarkand is the Registan ensemble, composed of three major examples of a madrasah (religious school). The third Registan component, the Tillia Kari Madrasah, was built in 1646-60 on the site of a former caravansarai. This remarkable view shows the courtyard side of the large brick structure containing the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch at the center of the two-story main facade. The courtyard side has its own pointed arch and niche surfaced with intricate polychrome ceramic ornamentation in geometric and floral designs. The niche, containing a lattice window, is flanked by secondary arches with entryways to the courtyard. Above the arch are fragments of a horizontal inscription band in a decorative cursive style. Each niche of the arcaded upper floor is covered in ceramic work, with a lattice window above each individual entrance.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Тилля Кари. Внутрен. Двор (южная сторона). Главная ниша

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 103.

Last updated: September 30, 2016