Portion of Entrance Door on Right Side of Tillia-Kari. Samarkand


In the center of Samarkand is the Registan complex, composed of three major examples of the madrasah (religious school). The third Registan component, the Tilla Kari Madrasah, was built in 1646–60 on the site of a former caravansarai. Shown here is the right half of an imposing entrance (on the building’s right side, according to caption), set within a peshtak (entrance arch). The door contains an inscription panel with cursive Perso-Arabic script and two panels of intricate wooden relief carving. The entrance is framed by tiles in a basic geometric pattern. The lower part of the arch flank (on right) is surfaced in stone (probably marble), culminating in an inscription band. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in the ancient city of Samarkand (in present-day Uzbekistan), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Часть входной двери с правой стороны в Тилля-Кари. Самарканд

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 30, 2016