Friday, June 8, 2012

Kazakastan Saint(s)

Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmed Yasavi
Mazar of Khwaja Ahmed Yasawi is an unfinished mausoleum in the city of Türkistan (or Hazrat-e Turkestan), South Kazakhstan. In 2002, it became the first Kazakh patrimony to be recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The present structure was commissioned in 1389 by Tamerlane to replace a smaller 12th-century mausoleum of a famous Sufi master, khwaja Ahmed Yasavi (1103–66). Master builders from Persia erected a 39-meter-high rectangular building in ganch, i.e., fired brick mixed with mortar and clay, and crowned it with the largest dome ever built in Central Asia. This double dome, decorated with green and golden tiles, measures 18.2 meters in diameter and 28 meters in height.
The master architect (mimar) of the structure is reportedly Khwaja Hosein Shirazi.(ref., p.140)
The building, one of the largest for its time, was left unfinished when Tamerlane died in 1405. As subsequent rulers paid little attention to it, the mausoleum has come down to us as one of the best preserved of all Timurid constructions.
Ahmed Yesevi (also spelled Ahmad Yasawi), born in Sayram (now in Kazakhstan), died 1166, Yasi, Turkestan, Turkic[1] poet and Sufi (Muslim mystic), an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world. Very little is known about his life, but legends indicate that his father Ibrahim died when the boy was young and his family moved to Yasi. There he became a disciple of Arslan Baba. After the death of the latter Ahmed Yesevi moved to Bukhara and followed his studies with the well known Yusuf Hamadhani[2] (d. 1140).
Later he made the city of Yasi into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh steppes, then retired to a life of contemplation aged 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life.
A mausoleum was later built on the site of his grave by Timur the Great in the city (today called Türkistan).