Architectural monuments of Turkmenistan: the unique mausoleum of Il-Arslan

Architectural monuments of Turkmenistan: the unique mausoleum of Il-Arslan

The Il-Arslan mausoleum in Kunya-Urgench is one of the most famous sights of Turkmenistan. Its architectural structure is recognized as unique: there are no such historical monuments in the entire territory of Central Asia, reports "Turkmenistan: Golden Age".

The mausoleum is a cube on which a prism with twelve sides and a dome in the form of a twelve-sided tent are erected. This is the only historical monument of the Middle Ages in Central Asia with such architectural details. The height of the building was artificially increased by the space between the inner dome and the outer tent. This innovation, which made the building look like an obelisk, was later embodied in many grandiose buildings of Tamerlane and his descendants. The total height of the mausoleum premises is twice the height of its walls.

Another unique feature of the mausoleum is the hand-carved terracotta relief made using a special medieval technology. The relief ornament is composed of floral and geometric patterns. The technology for applying the relief was as follows.

Unfired bricks lying tightly on the ground were covered with clay, on which a complex ornament was carved in relief. Then the composition was cut at the seams between the bricks and together with them was fired, after which it was reassembled on the facade.

A mausoleum was built over the grave of the famous Khorezmshah Il-Arslan and is the oldest surviving building in Urgench - the capital of the former Khorezm.

Taj ad-Din Il-Arslan was a Khorezmshah and came from the Bekdili tribe. He ruled from 1156 to 1172. He ascended the throne in Khorezm after the death of his father Khorezmshah Ala ad-Din Atsyz. In the 60s of the XII century, Il-Arslan annexed Dehistan and its surroundings to the possessions of Khorezm. In 1172, the troops of the Khorezmshah successfully repelled the Kara-Kitai campaign against Khorezm, and soon after that the ruler died. In memory of him, a mausoleum was built in the second half of the 12th century.

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