Saif ed-Din Bokharzi & Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleums

Saif ed-Din Bokharzi & Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleums

Saif ed-din Bokharzi & Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleums are located in the settlement called Fathabad, to the east of medieval Bukhara city, in the early times here were situated vast religious complex. The original focus of the complex was the grave of Saif ed-Din al-Boharsi, a highly popular poet, sheik, and theologian who lived in the 13th century. The followers of the sheik al-Boharsi have built up in this area of rabad (“rabad” – an outskirt) many dormitories (khanakas) for dervishes, who lived there on donations of the Kubrawiya Sufi order members. The Fathabad settlement later had joined the city. The existing mausoleum of Saif ed-Din Boharsi dates from the end of the 14th century. The Saif ed-Din al-Boharsi Mausoleum together with the Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleum is an admirable architectural ensemble. These monuments are even more famous due to their religious-historical and cultural significance.

The mausoleum attracts by its large shapes, simplicity as well as clarity of an architectural idea. You can notice the evolution of architectural themes when comparing this mausoleum with the whole Bukhara monument of the 10th century. This Mausoleum is not unicameral burial-vault as the Samanid mausoleum.  Two domes above these rooms organize the building’s side-view. The distinguishing feature of the Mausoleum is an absence of an inner and external decoration. In spite of this feature, an unknown architect achieved an impressive power of his building. During the restoration in the 1960s, the monument roof and walls were slightly strengthened. In spite of that, the earthquake in 1976 badly damaged the building.

Saif ed-Din BokharziMausoleum

Bukhara sheik Saif ed-Din al-Boharsi (1190 – 1261) was born in the Horasan region (northeastern Iran), he got religious education in Herat and Nishapur cities. When he achieved significant successes in mystical teaching, he moved to Khorezm. There he became one of the nearest followers of very popular sheik – Nadjm ed-Din Kubra. Later, according to the famous poet Abdurahman Djami Boharsi (15th century), Sheikh Saif ed-Din went to Bukhara as a tutor. In Bukhara, he was honored with the title of “Sheikh al-Alam” (“sheik of peace”). Unlike his teacher Saif-ed-Din al-Boharsi reliably survived the Mongol invasion. He lived in Bukhara for about 40 years under new rulers. Furthermore, he had great authority over the ruling elite. For instance, Berke Khan, who was the brother of Batu Khan, once had visited sheik al-Boharsi. Because of this meeting, the powerful Khan of the Kipchak or Golden Horde had adopted Islam.

Bayan-Quli Khan Mausoleum

The Chagatay ruler Bayan-Quli Khan had a wish to be buried nearby the respected burial place of al-Boharsi. In 1358, the Mausoleum of Bayan-Quli Khan had appeared there. Bayan-Quli Khan was the ruler of Chagatay (Chagatai Khanate was that part of the Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) that covered what is today mostly Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, and western Tajikistan. The khanate was established by Chagatai, the second son of Ginghos Khan.) 

Although the traditions and culture of the Mongols were essentially different from that of their subjects in Transoxiana, Bokharzi’s teachings influenced even the worldview of the invaders. The Mongol ruler of the Chagatay Khanate, Bayan-Quli Khan, was converted to Islamic Sufism and proceeded to honor his teacher Bokharzi until his death in 1358. As a result of his devotion, Bayan-Quli Khan was buried in a mausoleum next to the grave of the great teacher and mystic. 

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