Elena Paskaleva's picture
Affiliated Fellow
Elena Paskaleva

The kosh was the favourite architectural tool of the Timurid dynasty (14th- early16th century). The purpose of the study is to show that the kosh ensemble (two or three large buildings forming a square) is an important architectural medium representing power aspirations and religious affiliations across Central Asia. The research project will investigate the architecture of the kosh in the Timurid monuments built by Amir Timur (1336-1405) and his grandson Ulugh Beg (1394-1449) in Samarqand (the imperial capital), Bukhara (the religious centre) and Shahr-i- Sabz (the summer capital of Timur), all three cities situated in present-day Uzbekistan.

The aim is to recreate the Timurid kosh architecture and evaluate the restorations carried out in the 20th century. This will be done by analysing architectural representations in existing Timurid manuscripts and by studying artistic and photographic records of the monuments. Exploring the photographic images is vital to recreating the status of the kosh buildings prior to the restoration activities. During the 20th century certain architectural elements had to be rebuilt from scratch, whereby some inscriptions were anew designed. The inscriptions will be catalogued and translated into English based on their style and epigraphic programme.

The analysis is multidisciplinary and covers Timurid historiographical sources, representations of architectural paradisiacal settings in Timurid manuscripts, reading and translating Persian and Arabic epigraphy.



  • Timurid architecture
  • Material culture of Central Asia

Country of origin


Period of stay at IIAS

01/09/2012 to 01/09/2014

Research topic

Reading the Architecture of Paradise: The Timurid Kosh

IIAS · Rapenburg 59 · 2311 GJ Leiden · the Netherlands · T +31-71-5272227 · F +31-71-5274162 · E IIAS@iias.nl © 2019 IIAS