Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Entrance to the Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque)


This photograph of the mosque at 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 shows the facade and entrance iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) of the mosque, located in the west wall. Despite substantial damage, the facade has rich ceramic decoration, including attached columns on the side and interior corners, as well as panels of majolica tiles in intricate geometric and botanical patterns. The facade also displays ornamental patterns composed of Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, which is the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. Above the portal is an inscription band in cursive script. Partially visible at the top of this view is the cylinder supporting the dome.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Тилля Кари. Внуренний двор (западная сторона). Входъ в соборную мечеть (месчити джами)

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 104.

Last updated: September 30, 2016