The Emir of Bukhara

The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan who ruled from late 1910 until 1920 when he was forced to flee into Afghanistan to escape the Red Army. Here he is pictured in 1911 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii who used a special process using several different color filters and sandwiching them together to create color images.

The Emir ruled over the the Emirate of Bukhara in Central Asia, much of it being in modern-day Uzbekistan. The Emir was an absolute monarch and had control over internal matters of Bikhara, but was a vassal of the Russian Empire since the Russian conquest of Samarkand in 1868. When Emir Alim ascended to the thrown, he originally was open to pursuing reforms, but became more interested with his own position and ruled as an autocratic until he was forced to flee to Afghanistan where he lived until his death in Kabul in 1944. He was the last Emir of the Manghit dynasty to rule the Emirate of Bukhara.

The story of the Emir Alim is similar to that of Nicolas II with both refusing to carry necessary forms and who both lost their positions of absolute monarchs to the tide of revolution.


Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. The Emir of Bukhara, 1911. Digital color rendering. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-03959 (5)

2 Replies to “The Emir of Bukhara”

  1. Great job and even better picture! Your blog post just goes to show how vast Russia’s reach and influence truly stretched during this time period. Reforms are always a good idea in theory for these autocratic types but are always a little too adventurous in the end when it comes to implement them.

  2. I really like this picture because of all the colors captured, especially of the garment he is wearing. I also think this is a great way to show the diversity of the Russian Empire. As you said, Alim Khan was an absolute monarch of Bikhara but answered to the Russians since he was in their territory. This shows that although the Russians had conquered a great amount of land, they did not necessarily take the culture and power from the people they conquered.

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