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"Ismael Samani Mausoleum" Top 5 Page for this destination Ismail Samani Mausoleum Tip by toonsarah

Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Bukhara: 9 reviews and 16 photos

  Ismael Samani Mausoleum
by toonsarah
  • Ismael Samani Mausoleum - Bukhara
      Ismael Samani Mausoleum
    by toonsarah
  • Ismael Samani Mausoleum - close-up of brickwork - Bukhara
      Ismael Samani Mausoleum - close-up of brickwork
    by toonsarah
  • Ismael Samani Mausoleum - interior - Bukhara
      Ismael Samani Mausoleum - interior
    by toonsarah

This striking small mausoleum – striking because of its simplicity and perfect symmetry - is set in a park to the west of the old town. Built at the beginning of the tenth century, it is the first known example of the use of fired bricks in Central Asia. And these bricks are used to stunning advantage, to produce eighteen different types of decorative effect (see photo 2). The patterns of light and shade thus created are the building’s only adornment – there is no sign here of the rich colourful tile-work seen elsewhere in the country. Try to visit at the beginning or end of the day when the lower rays of the sun will show the patterns to their best effect.

The design of the mausoleum is strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism, a religion which was practiced in this part of the world before the days of Islam; and also by the mathematical discoveries of al-Khorezmi, whose story is told on my Khiva page. Its almost 2 metre thick walls form a 10.8 metre cube with identical sides, topped by a small dome. The cube is considered to symbolise the earth, and the dome heaven.

The mausoleum was built originally for Ismail Samani’s father but was used also for Samani himself and thus bears his name. A legend tells that he ruled for more than 40 years even after his death, and that even after his death he would still come to the aid of his people when they needed justice. They would come to his mausoleum, pray and put their statements on his tomb. The next day they would receive the answer and their problems would be solved. It seems some people must still believe this legend, because when we were there I saw several notes left on the tomb with a small sum of money.

Directions: North west of Lyab-i-Hauz in Samani Park, 5 minutes walk west of the Registan

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 21, 2007
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