Photographer to the Tsar: Revealing the Silk Road

Gates to the Tomb

Prokudin-Gorskii, Sergei Mikhailovich. Gates to Tsar's Tomb, 1906-1911. 1 negative (3 frames) : glass, b&w, three-color separation. Library of Congress, Prokudin-Gorskii Collection.

Decorated Doors
No less than 16 knockers of brass and silver decorate the brightly colored wooden doors leading to a mosque in the Bahauddin Naqshbandi complex near Bukhara. Enclosed within the walls of the compound were beautiful gardens, sacred tombs and medicinal springs. Engraved and inscribed, the knockers were presented by families of those who believed that they were cured by the healing waters of the springs.

Buildings in Central Asia
In Central Asia, most structures were built of clay baked into bricks by the summer sun. Mixed with strands of chopped straw glittering like spangles, clay was a versatile material that provided efficient insulation and cooling. Timber was hard to find and was used only for doors and other structural elements. Finely worked from apricot or walnut wood and painted in bright colors, large doors adorned palaces, mosques, shrines and mausoleums.