Khoja Mashhad Mausoleum

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 who funded a madrasah, where he buried himself. Local legend believes that Mashad’s mausoleum rose overnight by the will of God. The mausoleum is one of the most ancient in Central Asia. 

Khodzha Mashkhad Mausoleum

The Khoja Mashkhad 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.  The Khoja Mashhad complex is composed of two medieval mausoleums: the earliest dating from the first half of the 10th century. They joined by around passageway. Both mausoleums are made from baked bricks that have been designed in an attractive fir-tree pattern. Khoja Mashhad complex is one of those places in Tajikistan that surprise and delight visitors. You can view the mausoleum from the road, but when approached closer you can notice its attractiveness. A twin-domed structure, which is much bigger than when first seen from a distance. Architectures practiced excellent brickwork. You see it on the openings at the top of the two domes. There is also set in pleasant gardens, with some mature trees. The mausoleum survived the Mongol invasion and did not get greatly renovated since. Therefore it’s unusual this kind of structure in Central Asia. Hence, Khoja Mashhad displays as a good example of pre-Mongol early Islamic architecture. This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on November 9, 1999, in the Culture category.

Outside the mausoleums is a large courtyard packed with graves. There are ruins of two domed buildings and a mud-brick portal. The style of domes is typical of central Asian architecture before the Mongol invasion. The rows of narrow cells along the edges of the courtyard. It is likely 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.

How to reach to Khodzha Mashkhad Mausoleum

To reach Khoja Mashhad, leave Shahrituz by the main road south to Termez. After 5 km there is a school on the right with a bust of Lenin in front, on the left is a building that looks like a mosque, turn left here. Continue past another school on the right. Take the second left which takes you to the gates to Khoja Mashhad.

Page update 1.4.2023

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