Photographer's Note

It could seem crazy that I went 12 + 17 hours by train to see just the one monument. Was it worth going? Definitely yes!! I haven't been in Uzbekistan (although I would like to go there but I have at the moment no idea how) to see Samarkand, Khiva and BUkhara. From Almaty I had the opportunity to see in easy and very cheap way a monument of similar style and importance, much less known, where there were only pilgrims and me only tourist. How could I not to use this opportunity? How easy and cheap it was? I went by train with sleeping 4 berths compartment, with bedding, towel, blanket, mattress and pillow, and free tea all the time. The accommodation in this hostel on wheels for two nights, transportation of almost 1000 km one way, entrance tickets and tasty lagman (king of thick soup) and samosas and airan cost me all 30 euro. And also great joy of chatting with the people in the compartment. Can you beat this price?

The Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi is situated in the north-eastern part of the modern-day town of Turkestan (earlier known as Jasi) an ancient centre of caravan trade in the southern part of Kazakhstan. The structure is within the vicinity of a historic citadel, which is now an archaeological site.

Remains of medieval structures such as other mausoleums, mosques and bath houses characterize the archaeological area. To the north of the Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi, a reconstructed section of the citadel wall from the 1970s separates the historical area from the developments of the modern town.
Khoja Ahmed Yasawi was the 12th-century head of a regional school of Sufism, a mystic movement in Islam which began in the 9th century. He was born in 1093, and spent most of his life in Yasi, dying there in 1166. He is widely revered in Central Asia and the Turkic-speaking world for popularizing Sufism, which sustained the diffusion of Islam in the area despite the contemporary onslaught of the Mongol invasion. The theological school he created turned Yasi into the most important medieval enlightening center of the area. He was also an outstanding poet, philosopher and statesman. Yasawi was interred in a small mausoleum, which became a pilgrimage site for Muslims.The new mausoleum was begun in 1389. Timur imported builders from cities which he laid waste during his campaigns, including mosaic-workers from Shiraz and stonemasons and stucco-workers from Isfahan. It was reported that Timur himself participated in the design of the structure, where he introduced experimental spatial arrangements, types of vaults and domes. These innovations were later implemented in the religious edifices of other cities. However, the mausoleum was left unfinished, when Timur died in 1405.

Big beta picture

The back entrance with Persian style decorations.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12072 W: 126 N: 30769] (143510)
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