Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Inscription on One of the Panels of the Main Niche


This photograph of a detail from the main entrance to 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 the conqueror 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. The entrance to the rectangular courtyard is framed by a great iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). This view shows a ceramic tile panel on the upper part of the right side of the niche formed by the iwan arch. The panel’s intricate decorative pattern is composed of Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, which is the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The panel is framed by tile strips. Such detailed photographs indicate the serious documentary purpose and technical mastery of the album’s photographers.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Тилля-Кари. Главный фасад. (южный). Надпись на одной из щек главной ниши

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 102.

Last updated: September 30, 2016