Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
The Ismail Samani Mausoleum was built in the 10th century to house the tombs of Ismail Samani, founder of the Samanid Dynasty, as well as his father and grandson. The walls are so thick and well-built that the mausoleum has never needed significant repair in the 1100 years it has stood here.
This mausoleum in Samani Park, completed in 905, is the town's oldest Muslim monument and probably its sturdiest architecturally. Built for Ismail Samani (the Samanid dynasty's founder), his father and grandson, its intricate baked terracotta brickwork - which gradually changes 'personality' through the day as the shadows shift - disguises walls almost 2m thick, helping it survive without restoration (except of the spiked dome) for 11 centuries.
The Samanid mausoleum is located in the historical urban nucleus of the city of Bukhara, in a park laid out on the site of an ancient cemetery. This mausoleum, one of the most esteemed sights of Central Asian architecture, was built in the 9th (10th) century (between 892 and 943) as the resting-place of Ismail Samani - a powerful and influential amir of the Samanid dynasty, one of the Persian dynasty to rule in Central Asia, which held the city in the 9th and 10th centuries. Although in the first instance the Samanids were Governors of Khorasan and Transoxiana under the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate, the dynasty soon established virtual independence from Baghdad. For many years the lower part of the mausoleum remained under a two-meter high layer of sediment. Now the foundation has been cleared of these obstacles and the mausoleum, fully restored, is open for observation from all sides as was initially planned by the builders. The monument marks a new era in the development of Central Asian architecture, which was revived after the Arab conquest of the region. The architects continued to use an ancient tradition of baked brick construction, but to a much higher standard than had been seen before. The construction and artistic details of the brickwork are still enormously impressive, and display traditional features dating back to pre-Islamic culture. The mausoleum of Pakistan's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah--Mazar-e-Quaid is modeled after this structure.
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