Samanid Mausoleum

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Ismail Samani Mausoleum
General information
Architectural style Sassanides
Town or city Bukhara
Country Uzbekistan
Construction started 892 CE
Completed 943 CE

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 dynasties that ruled in Central Asia, who 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 foundations have 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 fact that the religious law of Islam strictly prohibits the construction of mausoleums over burial places stresses the significance of the Samanid mausoleum, which is the most ancient monument of Islamic architecture in Central Asia and the sole monument that survived from the epoch of the Samanid Dynasty. Therefore, the Samanid mausoleum might be one of the earliest departures from that religious restriction in the history of Islamic architecture.

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 (see picture), 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.


See also[edit]


Maqbara-i Ismail Samani | Archnet

Grabar, O. "The Earliest Islamic Commemorative Structures." Ars Orientalis IV (1966): 7-46.

Hill, D. Islamic Architecture and Its Decoration, 49. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964.

Michell, G. Architecture of the Islamic World, 259. London: Thames and Hudson, 1995.

"Ismail Samani Mausoleum". World Monuments Fund Panographies. [Accessed February 2, 2006; inaccessible November 13, 2013]

Dmitriy Page. The Guide to Bukhara. History and sights.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°46′37″N 64°24′02″E / 39.77694°N 64.40056°E / 39.77694; 64.40056