Antiquities of Samarkand. Shir Dar Madrasah. Main Facade (Western). Base of Corner Column on the Main Facade


This photograph of the Shir Dar 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 second madrasah in the ensemble, the Shir Dar, was built in 1619-36, during the Astrakhanid dynasty. Despite significant damage over the centuries, it remains one of the most lavishly ornamented monuments in Central Asia. This view of the right side of the main facade shows the lower part of the column that marks the south side of the monumental iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). The turbaned figure gives an idea of the column’s enormous scale. Although much of the ceramic work is missing from the wall surface and the column, the marble base has remained, with its carved decorative elements in the “stalactite” form. Fragments of ceramic ornamentation are visible in the upper part of the photograph, including geometric wall patterns with block Kufic inscriptions.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Шир-дар. Главный фасад. (западный). База угловой колоны на главном фасаде

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 90.

Last updated: September 30, 2016