Students. Samarkand


Shown here are two students in Samarkand, probably at the Tillia Kari Madrasah, one of three religious schools bordering Registan Square. Built in 1646–60, Tillia Kari is shaped by a rectangular courtyard bounded by arcades that contained rooms for scholars. The students in this courtyard view are seated on a brick ledge that has been partially cleared of snow. They are wearing white turbans and long-sleeved padded robes against the cold. Both have carefully trimmed beards and moustaches. They gaze intently toward the camera. At the top are remnants of glazed tiles in a geometric pattern that once covered the walls. To the right is the entrance to one of the cells. 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 different parts of the empire. He was interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including trips in January 1907 and in early 1911.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Студенты. 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

Last updated: September 30, 2016