Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Middle. Inscription along the Inside of the Main Niche and Its Upper Part


This photograph of 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 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), flanked by a two-story arcade with rooms for scholars. This view shows the upper part of the iwan niche, including a portion of the arcade set within the polygonal niche. The pointed arches frame doors and lattice pattern windows. This complex surface is covered with polychrome majolica tiles that form intricate geometric and botanical patterns. The arcade culminates in a horizontal inscription band in a cursive style. Despite the relatively good preservation of the ceramic work, the vaults above are devoid of decoration.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Тилля-Кари. Главный фасад. (южный). Середина. Надпись идущая внутри главной ниши в верхней ея части

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 101.

Last updated: September 30, 2016