Jump to content

Ismamut Ata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ismamut Ata is a mausoleum in the Khwarazm oasis of Turkmenistan.[1][2][3] A cluster of religious structures, it stands amidst a graveyard and was once considered to be among the most prominent shrines in Turkestan.[1][4]



Ismamut Ata lies 13 km south of Görogly.[1]



In Turkmen folklore, Ism — a companion of Muhammad— had introduced Islam into the region for the first time, convincing the local Sultan Mahmut.[1] On Ism's death, Mahmut commissioned the mausoleum, which bore the portmanteau Ism-i Maḥmūt, anglicized to Ismamut.[1] However, there is no historical corroboration of either Ism or Mahmut; the identity of the buried figure remains unknown.[1]

It is also believed that these lands were the grazing grounds of Duldul, the mule of Muhammad.[1] This gave rise to a tradition of Turkmen tying their horses to a tree, a few hundred meters away from the site, and circumambulating it three times to seek Duldul's protection.[1][5]



The main complex oversees a courtyard.[1] The oldest building in the complex can be dated to c. 16th century.[1]

First comes a series of twin-floored domed rooms with a fireplace and an intricately carved wooden door, in what is understood to have been a pilgrim's quarter or madrasa.[1] On one side of the courtyard stands the Summer Mosque.[1] To its right is the remnants of a kitchen and to its left, a covered rectangular enclosure with two tapered pillars.[1] Beyond the Summer mosque, is the Winter Mosque, a domed tetraconch building with latticed windows.[1]

On the east of the mosque complex, is the daskeche — a carpeted corridor, with seven white domes — with niches along the wall.[1] One end of it connects to the Winter Mosque by a four-domed flank-corridor whereas the other end leads to the mausoleum via an anteroom.[1] The cenotaph is housed in a locked chamber; it is only visible from the windows of the prayer-room.[1]



The site attracts tourists; rooms have proferred along the complex, offering overnight accommodation.[1] Paul Brummell quips that the tradition of circumambulation continues except that the horses have been replaced by motor cars.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Brummell, Paul (2005). Turkmenistan. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 169–170. ISBN 978-1-84162-144-9.
  2. ^ Karimo’g’li, Q. (1997). Ismamut ota. Urganch.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Man’kovskaia, L.; Bulatova, V. (1978). Pamiatniki zodchestva Khorezma. Tashkent.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ Stebliuk, Iu. V. (1959). "K tipologii pogrebal'nykh sooruzhenii u narodov Srednei Azii". Sovetskaia ètnografiia (3): 89–97.
  5. ^ Snesarev, G.P (1983). Khorezmskie legendy kak istochnik po istorii religioznykh kul'tov Srednei Azii. Moscow: Nauka. pp. 71–80.

Further reading

  • For late twentieth century photographs, consult Man’kovskaia, L. (1982). Hiva : Horazm naķķošligi hazinasi. Tashkent.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  • For late nineteenth century photographs, consult Nedvetsky, Andrei G. (1993). Naumkin, V. (ed.). Khiva. Caught in time: Great photographic archives. Reading: Garnet.
  • On Soviet management of these sites and related historiography, consult Sartori, Paolo (2019-09-01). "Of Saints, Shrines, and Tractors: Untangling the Meaning of Islam in Soviet Central Asia". Journal of Islamic Studies. 30 (3): 367–405. doi:10.1093/jis/etz001. ISSN 0955-2340.