Mausoleum of the Samanids
There are so many interesting historical monuments in the world worthy of your attention, but only few of them are destined to remain among the memories of the people who have seen them, that is, without exaggeration, remain vivid for the rest of their lives. The famous mausoleum of the Samanids in Bukhara, without a doubt, is one such monument.
After a visit to the lively, noisy and crowded bazaar on a hot day, you will long for a rest in the shade of trees in the park located nearby. Strolling along the pedestrian zone in anticipation of a refreshing cup of tea while sitting on a tapchan in a chaikhana (teahouse), suddenly behind the trees you notice a structure of honey-sand color with a completely remarkable design.
You steer towards the monument that has caught your attention and stand before a miracle! In fact, no other name suffices for what stands before your very eyes. Your thirst is forgotten; only the desire to find out what building this is remains. Let us enlighten you. It is the Mausoleum of the Samanids, one of the most ancient architectural monuments on the territory of today's Uzbekistan and the most ancient site in Bukhara.
Ismail Samani, the head of the dynasty, commissioned the construction of the mausoleum above the tomb of his father, and he himself is buried here as well, together with his grandson Nasra. The mausoleum was constructed at the end of the 9th - beginning of the 10th centuries, and is a fabulous demonstration of the high level of development of science and construction during the epoch of the Samanids.
The monument is unique in many aspects. Here for the first time, such building materials as baked brick of Standard format are held together with a special ganch-based solution, providing the required strength. As Bukhara at the time was a world center for science, the most precise mathematical calculations were applied. The level of precision and the intricacy of the structure and layout are simply stunning.
Each time you visit, you may get a different perception of these walls and cupola, depending on the time of day, the angle of the light and the shadows playing on the bricks. It is incredibly beautiful - as in a Rembrandt painting, if you permit us the comparison. Laid horizontally and vertically, at different angles, the bricks take on various appearances, at once resembling wooden carvings, a wicker basket, a lacy pattern...
The foundation of the mausoleum is of an almost cubic shape, crowned with one large, and four small domes. All four facades of the mausoleum have an identical decor. In the center of each one stands an arch that connects the internal structure with the external. Each corner is flanked by a powerful three-quarter tower. The top arches connect to the light gallery. The mausoleum gives an impression of extreme lightness and at the same time solid construction, due to the elegant simplicity of its shape and the expressiveness of its decor.
Come to Bukhara! You will be convinced that the opportunity to see the mausoleum of the Samanids with your own eyes alone makes the trip worthwhile.