Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Southern Side). Upper Part of the Minaret


This photograph of a minaret on the south side 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 caravanserai. This view, taken from inside the courtyard, shows a minaret with its damaged cupola. To the right of the minaret is the large cylinder that originally supported a dome above the mosque within the madrasah. Both minaret and cylinder are surfaced with polychrome ceramic ornamentation. The cylinder has geometrically arranged patterns composed of Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, which is the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The minaret displays remnants of geometric and floral designs. At the top of the shaft is a horizontal inscription band in a decorative cursive style.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Тилля Кари. Внутрен. Двор (южная сторона). Верхяя часть минарета

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