Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (2003)

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The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, in the town of Yasi, now Turkestan, was built at the time of Timur Lang [Tamerlane], from 1389 to 1405. In this partly unfinished building, Persian master builders experimented with architectural and structural solutions later used in the construction of Samarkand, the capital of the Timurid Empire. Today, it is one of the largest and best-preserved constructions of the Timurid period.

Kazakhstan 2000. Souvenir sheet from the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.

Mazar of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi is an unfinished mausoleum in the city of Türkistan [Hazrat-e Turkestan], in southern Kazakhstan. The present structure was commissioned in 1389 by Tamerlane to replace a smaller 12th-century mausoleum of the famous Sufi master, Khoja Ahmed Yasavi (1103–66). A Persian master builder ("mimar") of the structure is said to be Khwaja Hosein Shirazi. 

The building is a 39 meter high rectangular shape, erected in "ganch" i.e., fired brick mixed with mortar and clay, and crowned it with the largest dome ever built in Central Asia. This double dome, decorated with green and golden tiles, measures 18.2 meters in diameter and 28 meters in height. 

From 1921 to 1991 Kazakhstan was part of the USSR, who issued a large number of stamps from the many autonomous republics. This stamp is from the 1989-series "Historical Buildings", and shows a full view of the impressive structure. 

  • Russia 1989. Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum. The stamp gives a good impression of the enormous building. 

Russia 1989. Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum.

Kazakhstan 1996. Sheetlet with one stamp from the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum.

The building, one of the largest for its time, was left unfinished when Tamerlane died in 1405. 

Subsequent rulers paid little attention to it, so the mausoleum has eventually come to be one of the best preserved of all Timurid constructions. 

  • Kazakhstan 1996. Sheetlet containing one stamp showing a view of the mausoleum. In the background an aerial view of the dome. 

Tamerlane built many spectacular palaces and mosques, the most celebrated of which are in Samarqand (Uzbekistan). 

Although he was notorious for his cruelty in war and for the many atrocities committed by his armies, Tamerlane was also a lover of scholarship and the arts. His dynasty, the Timurids, which ruled Central Asia and Iran until the early 16th century, was noted for its patronage of Turkish and Persian literature. One of his descendants, Babur, founded the Mughal Empire of India in 1526. His lasting fame is reflected in English playwright Christopher Marlowe's powerful poetic drama Tamburlaine the Great (1587). Tamerlane is a national hero in Uzbekistan. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Properties in Kazakhstan (on this web site). For more information about Kazakhstan, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Kazakhstan

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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