We started our first full day in Bukhara at the Samanid Mausoleum. It’s located in a park just outside the historic centre and although we were there fairly early in the day, the heat was already oppressive and I was glad when we were finally able to enter and enjoy the coolness within.
The mausoleum was constructed between 892-942 CE for Ismail Samani, a powerful amir (emir) of the Samanid dynasty, one of the last great Persian dynasties to rule Central Asia. It’s architectural style was stylistically different to what had come before. They used baked bricks and incorporated both Zoroastrian and Islamic influences in the design.
This mausoleum was built over a burial place, which was forbidden in Islamic law at the time, and it may be one of the earliest examples of a building disregarding that restriction. Other members of the Samani family were buried here, and eventually a large cemetery surrounded this mausoleum.
Over the years it eventually was buried by silt from river flooding, which is why the Mongols did not destroy it in their destructive conquest over Central Asia. In fact, it was only rediscovered in the 1930s by a Soviet archeologist, and it took nearly two years to excavate.
The Soviets weren’t kind to this area either, eventually building an amusement park at the site, but what’s left now is a lovely park with a nice pond next to the mausoleum. Our guide told us that this type of architecture is what later influenced the architects who built the Taj Mahal.
Monument: A small but interesting mausoleum well worth a visit.
Grounds: The park is flat and easy to get around.
Visitors: Yes, quite a few came and went while we were here.
Notes: The mausoleum is free, but if you want to take pictures inside there is a small fee (which is common across most places in Central Asia).
Site: Samanid Mausoleum
Location: Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Hours: The park is open 24 hours