Khoja Mashhad Mausoleum

Khodzha Mashkhad Mausoleum

The Khoja Mashkhad (Kohdzha Mashkhad or Khoja Mashhad among others) Mausoleum is located 6 km south of Shaartux in the Khatlon province of the Republic of Tajikistan. The mausoleum is a rare example of a pre-Mongolian madrasa from the 11th and 12th centuries as most cities and landmarks were destroyed in all of Central Asia by the Mongols. 

The Khoja Mashhad complex is composed of two medieval mausoleums joined by a passageway and the earliest one dates from the first half of the 10th century. Both mausoleums are made from baked bricks that have been designed to form a beautiful fir-tree pattern. Khoja Mashhad complex is one of those places in Tajikistan that surprise and delight visitors in a very off the beaten path areas of the country. 

You can view the mausoleum also from the road, but  a closer look will reveal its attractiveness of the twin-domed structure, which is a lot larger than when first seen from a distance and the excellent brickwork. You see it on the openings at the top of the two domes. 


There is a pleasant garden nearby, with some mature trees providing shade. As mentioned the mausoleum survived the Mongol invasion has not gone through large renovations since except the very recent restoration. The site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 1999 in the Culture category.

Outside the mausoleums, there is a large courtyard packed with graves. There are also ruins of two domed buildings and a mud-brick portal. The style of domes is typical for Central Asian architecture before the Mongol invasion. The rows of narrow cells along the edges of the courtyard. It is likely that they once housed the madrasah’s students. Other rooms might have served as classrooms, a refectory and a mosque. 

The guardians are very cozy and present with some of the objects excavated from the site, like medieval oil lamps. One of the buildings has been restored externally, the other still exposes the damage caused by the troops of Genghis Khan. Next to the buildings are the remains of a madrassa, where Nasir Khusraw is reputed to have studied from 1026-1033.

Khoja Maskhad restauration work

Who was Khodzha Mashkhad

Khoja Mashhad was an Islamic preacher who came to Tajikistan in the late 9th century, possibly from Iran. In his time, Khoja Mashhad was a wealthy man who funded a madrasah, where he was also buried. Local legend tells that Mashad’s mausoleum rose overnight by the will of God. The mausoleum is one of the most ancient in Central Asia. 

Travel to Khodzha Mashkhad Mausoleum

To reach Khoja Mashhad, leave Shahrituz (Shahrtuz) by the main road south towards Termez. After 5 km, there is a school on the right with a bust of Lenin in front and on the left there is a building that looks like a mosque. Turn left here and continue past another school on the right. Take the second left which takes you to the gates to Khoja Mashhad. This location is rarely visited by tourists as it is far from any major sights, except from Termez or the Tigrovaya Balka Nature reserve. It is nevertheless a good spot to check if you are traveling in the area.

Sights & destinations near Khodzha Mashkhad Mausoleum

Page updated 7.1.2024

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