The Mausoleum of Momine Khatun is representative of the Nakhchivan architectural tradition of the medieval era
Momine Khatun Mausoleum
History of Atabay Dome
People remember it as the «Atabay dome». In the headache of the monument, these words were written in Cufic: «We pass away but only the wind is left behind us. We die but only work is left as a present».
Momine Khatun Mausoleum, a monument of the Azerbaijani architecture (monuments of the architectural school of Nakhchivan – Maragha) was built in the west part of Nakhchivan city (within the Atabek Complex of Architecture in Nakhchivan city’s historical center) in 1186. The mausoleum is the only monument that has reached our era from that complex.
Shamsaddin Eldaniz, the founder of the Azerbaijan Atabaylar state (Eldiguzids) initiated erecting a mausoleum on the grave of his wife Momine Khatun. However, its construction was finished by Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan, the son of Shamsaddin Eldeniz, in A.H. 582, in the Maharram month (April 1186).
According to some investigators, Shamsaddin Eldaniz, the ruler of the Atabaylar state, his wife Momine Khatun, and his son Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan were buried in the mausoleum.
Later, the headstones of the buried people in the tomb probably were robbed and taken away. The photos and paintings of the 19th century show that there were monumental buildings and also Jameh mosque around the mausoleum.
Its architect, Adjemi ibn Abubekr (or Adjemi Nakchivani), also built the nearby mausoleum of Yusuf ibn Kuseyir. The mausoleum was probably originally built with a madrassa: drawings and photographs of the site from the nineteenth century confirm that it existed as part of a religious and educational complex which no longer exists.
The mausoleum was heavily restored in 1999-2003, as part of the Azerbaijan Cultural Heritage Support Project of the World Bank.
Momine Khatun Mausoleum architecture
The total height of it was 34m, but later the cover of 8m was destroyed. The mausoleum consists of underground (vault) and aboveground parts. Very masterly restoration works were carried out with the precious stone in the vault (2003).
The only decorations of its interior are four round medallions covered with inscriptions and ornaments. These medallions are placed on the inner side of the spherical dome of the mausoleum and bear the names of the Prophet Mohammed, and four rashidun (caliphs) - Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman, Ali and his sons Hassan and Hussein.
The Mausoleum of Momine Khatun is distinguished by an imperial grandeur. On the top of the tomb, in the writings above – in the main book of the monument, it is written: «This tomb was ordered to be built by educated in the world, just and great victor Shamsaddin Nusrat al- Islam and al Muslimin Jahan Pahlavan Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Atabay Atabay Eldagiz for the memory of religion in the world, Islam, and fame of the Muslims - Momina Khatun!»
Momine Khatun Mausoleum is a prismatic tower with similar ornaments on all sides, including the eastern face where there the entrance door to the tomb is located. The rectangular entrance to the tower was built in the form of a shallow sharp arch. The inscriptive plaque above it indicates the architect and the construction time of the mausoleum which is in Kufic-style. The edges of the sharp niches are covered with composite geometric patterns and thin columns (15 cm in diameter), and the inner surfaces do not repeat each other.
The bright blue-turquoise bricks used in the decoration of the sharp niches on each face. The ten-sided tower’s edges form a П-shaped frame and include the niches. These frames are covered with a kufic-style inscription made of bricks. Most probably the inscriptions are texts from Surah Yaseen in Koran.
Most of the geometrical ornaments on the surfaces are composed of multi-pointed stars and the lines spread from them. There are 5, 6, 8 pointed stars and 6, 8 angular geometric figures on each face
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How to get there
The Momine Khatun Mausoleum is located in the old part of Nakhchivan city. We recommend you to walk.
In Nakhchivan city, it's easy to get to Mavsoleum by bus.
From the Nakhchivan International Airport, it's a 10-15-minutes drive to the Momine Khatun Mausoleum.
The Momine Khatun Mavsloeum is located inside the city and not directly accessible by train.