Day 121: Another day, another blue-domed mausoleum
Turkistan Travel Blog› entry 166 of 260 › view all entries
The Yasaui Mausoleum in Turkistan is Kazakhstan's major pilgrimage site. It is also considered to be the country's greatest architectural monument. Basically it's a piece of Uzbekistan within Kazakhstan, thanks to the whims of Stalin who drew the borders in such a way that no Central Asian republic would contain a single ethnicity.
The Sufi poet Kozha Akhmed Yasaui moved here from Bukhara and started the Yasaui Sufi order here. Years after Yasaui's death Timur (you know, the guy from Samarkand) built this mausoleum here.
It is understandable that the Kazakhs are proud of the mausoleum, as it is pretty much the only remaining historic building in the country (ok, there are a few, but nothing compared to Uzbekistan).
However, I was all too aware that this was also the last Timuroid/Persian style building I would see this trip, so I might as well savour it!
It was just too bad that photography was not allowed inside any of the buildings, because, well, I found the inside of the underground mosque much more interesting than the outside.
Though the mausoleum area is supposed to be the centre of Turkistan, these days most of the village life evolves around the bazaar three kilometres away. The mausoleum area is little more than a sleepy sleepy Soviet town with overgrown parks and historic building.
I took a bus to the bazaar area and spent the rest of the afternoon there. I really like the bustling Central Asian bazaars and this one was no exception. I had contemplated hiring a taxi to go to a nearby ruined Silk Road city, but decided against it. It was quite expensive and by now I guess I have seen enough crumbling mud brick cities.