Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Ulugh Beg. Main Facade (Eastern). Base


This photograph of a detail from the east facade of the Ulugh Beg 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 oldest madrasah on Registan Square is named after the astronomer-king and grandson of Timur, Ulugh Beg (1393?-1449), who built it in 1417-20. During Ulugh Beg’s reign, mathematicians and astronomers were among the scholars at the madrasah, which was considered a leading center of Islamic education. This view shows a detail of the left (south) inside corner of the great iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) entrance arch. At the bottom is the segmented carved marble base of the corner column. Despite extensive damage, polychrome ceramic ornamentation is visible above the column base. In addition to geometric patterns on the wall, fragments of a cursive inscription encircle the lower column shaft. To the left are seated figures on Registan Square, filled with market activity among an array of mud-brick structures.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Улуг-Бек. Главный фасад (восточный). База

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 110.

Last updated: September 30, 2016