Yunus-Khan Mausoleum

Not far from the Shayhantaur Mausoleum, one of the main landmarks of Tashkent, there is the Yunus-Khan Mausoleum, few people know what a remarkable and ingenious person was this man, who was commemorated by this structure, erected in the XV century. An interesting fact is, that Yunus-Khan the Moghulistan (1415-1485) related by blood simultaneously to two great persons, who left indelible mark in the history of Central Asia. This respected and influential politician was a descendant of Genghis Khan, the Mongolian conqueror, who subdued Maverannahr. While Yunus-Khan’s grandson Zakhiriddin Babur was a direct descendant of Amir Timur, the commander, who dedicated many years of his life to release Maverannahr from Mongolian yoke. Moreover, one of Yunus-Khan’s kinswomen got married to Mirzo Ulugbek, another outstanding offspring of the Temurid dynasty.

Yunus-Khan was bereft of the father in the age of 13, which fact radically changed his future life. The boy was sent to Herat, and then to Yazd, where he spent his childhood in ward of the famous author of “Book of Victories” (“Zafarname”) – Sherefeddin al Iyezdi, the Amir Timur’s court historian. Under tender command of the wise tutor, young Yunus-Khan got the best education: he studied various sciences, theology, literature, Arab and Persian languages, mastered playing music instruments, and began studying versification. Having spent twenty years in an “honorable exile” away from home, Yunus-Khan came back to his city in 1456 and was appointed Khan of a Mongolian nomad camp. Enlisted by the Temurids, he became a ruler of several Fergana apanages, and later on, owing to the weight of sheik Khodja Akhrar, he annexed Tashkent to his dominions. Success attended to Yunus-Khan in all his undertakings; however in 1485 he had to abdicate and repose power in hands to his sons due to apoplexy, the disease that smitten him. Two years before his death he spent in a Sufis dervish mansion not far from the Khavendi at-Takhur, and where later on he was buried. Yunus-Khan’s sons built a mausoleum in testimony of their respect and affection.

The Yunus-Khan Mausoleum is a unique structure of the XV century. One of a few monuments of the Temurid epoch, extant in Tashkent, it has no parallel virtually in Central Asia (except perhaps in Iran), since it was built as a Т-shaped khanakah, a tabernacle for pilgrims and dervishes with residential cells-khudjrs located on two floors. The Yunus-Khan Mausoleum, rather a solid structure with a double dome and portal, strikes with its dimensions. The entry fitted with a high lancet arch. From outside, the mausoleum is decorated in an austere ascetical style: the façade is only decorated with a wooden grid, calligraphic Arab script and ornament “girikh". In the 30-s of the XX century, the wooden carved door of the dismantled quarter mosque was transferred to the Yunus-Khan Mausoleum. The interior design is decorated with stone columns, and under the arch there is a mukarnas, a stepped-plate vault in a form of stalactites. The mausoleum’s hall is open with embrasures from its three sides, while its outside dome is supported by a cylindrical drum. The main building domed roof is decorated with intercrossing arches and sails. The Yunus-Khan Mausoleum is riddled with secrets: between the door leaves there was a dodgy-built chang, an ancient instrument, which made the door musical. Furthermore, no deposition was found in the tomb itself, its real location remains unknown up to date.

Currently the Yunus-Khan Mausoleum is a part of the Islamic University complex. 

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