The Aksaray mausoleum is a very interesting place in Samarkand. The literal translation of its name from Turkic is “the white palace”. The mausoleum is more than 1,500 years old. It is located near the Gur-Emir Mausoleum where the remains of Tamerlane and the descendants of the Timurids were buried.
Unfortunately, tourists often pay no attention to this monument. It is not surprising since this mausoleum looks inconspicuous against the background of the luxurious architectural monuments of Samarkand: brick walls, a dome on a drum that is also made of brick, no bright gloss at all. On the wall, there is a nondescript plaque informing people that this is a mausoleum built in the 15th century that is protected by the state. Small elements of carved patterns on the ogival windows indicate that this is a religious building.
However, in fact it is not all that simple.
The history of the mausoleum is very interesting. There are some remains buried there that have not yet been identified. Vadim Masson, the famous archaeologist and historian, suggested that they belonged to the family of one of the rulers of Maverannahr, Abd al-Latif. Since he could not be buried in the mausoleum where Tamerlane had found his final resting place, a separate mausoleum was built nearby.
The architectural monument barely lasted until the 20th century. It was badly destroyed, abandoned and was not a popular place.
Through the efforts of Soviet restores, preservation work was carried out to preserve the building as it was at that moment, without any restoration. Thanks to that, the building remained unchanged for some time, but then it started to deteriorate. Interest in it was completely lost.
In 2007, financial assistance was provided for the restoration of the mausoleum. The name of the person who has financed the work is unknown; however, its scale is impressive. The architectural appearance of the building and all its room have been entirely restored.
The interior of the attraction is in sharp contrast with its exterior. This is the main reason to visit the mausoleum.
Decoration of the interior is rich in gold, patterns and carving. Wall ornaments form a single composition in different rooms; the walls are decorated with bright glazed mosaics. The main room of the building is connected with the marble crypt by a long corridor shaped like a staircase.
Thus, the building whose facade looks unremarkable turns out to be a real work of architectural art once you come inside. This is a reminder to all guests of Uzbekistan that in the East you should not judge buildings only by their appearance. Sometimes the modest look, like a veil, hides an incredible beauty able to amaze even the most sophisticated travelers.
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