View of Arches and Mosaics


The Astrakhanid dynasty in Bukhara during the 17th century was adept at organizing urban space.  The Liabi-Khauz complex is a fine example. It was a trading area with a square reservoir that provided water and served as a reflecting pool for three adjacent religious buildings. Among them is the madrasah (religious school) built in 1622–23 by Nadir Divan-begi, a vizier (high official) and uncle of the Bukhara ruler Iman Kuli-Khan. This photograph shows a fragment of the left side of the main facade, which contains the great peshtak (entrance arch). The adobe brick walls were originally covered with polychrome ceramic tiles (severely damaged) in a variety of geometric, floral, and inscriptional patterns. 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. In 1911 his travels took him to an area of Central Asia then known as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), where he photographed many of the ancient monuments of Bukhara.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Вид арок и мозаик

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