Among Samarkand’s major monuments is Gur-Emir ("tomb of the ruler"), begun by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1403 in memory of his grandson Muhammed Sultan. Following Timur's own unexpected death from pneumonia in 1405, his body was also placed in the mausoleum. It was completed by another of Timur's grandsons, the astronomer-king Ulugh Beg. This view, mistakenly identified as an entrance to the “Gur-Emir Mosque,” shows remnants of intricate ceramic ornamentation, including mosaics of five and six-pointed star motifs. Above the portal is a Perso-Arabic inscription panel in flowing Thuluth (cursive) script. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly 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 two trips in 1911 that focused on the ancient city of Samarkand.