Mausoleum of the First President of Uzbekistan
The Mausoleum of the founding father of Uzbekistan’s state independence and its First President Islam Karimov was built in the territory adjacent to the Hazrat Khizr Mosque in Samarkand.
During the design and construction of the mausoleum, great care was taken not only to ensure that the structure complemented the Hazrat Khizr mosque, but also to preserve the historical appearance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Designed and built in keeping with the traditions of Oriental architecture, the mausoleum blends medieval and modern architectural techniques. In structure, it is akin to the single-chamber vaults of XIV-XVIII centuries, a type of mausoleum found in many regions of Central Asia.
The building is 7.55m high and is topped with a ribbed cupola of terracotta coloured ceramic plates such as those used on the Hazrat Khizr cupola.
For the most part, the façade is clad in multicoloured majolica relief. The base is made of dark-green marble while the upper part of the walls is finished with a broad stalactite belt from carved, glazed terracotta.
The entrance to the mausoleum is located in the south-eastern part. Above the door is an inscription from the Koran in Arabic (Surah Ya Sin, Verse 58) ““Peace,” a word from a Merciful Lord”. The inscription is executed in Suls script interwoven with intricate plant ornaments. The doorway is decorated with text from Verses 113 and 114 of Surah An-Nisa.
“And if it was not for the favor of Allah upon you, and His mercy, a group of them would have determined to mislead you. But they do not mislead except themselves, and they will not harm you at all. And Allah has revealed to you the Book and wisdom and has taught you that which you did not know. And ever has the favor of Allah upon you been great.”
“No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.”
The central niche arches of the remaining three facades are decorated with pandjara marble lattice in the geometric ornamental style, fitted on the inside with smooth, colourless, three-layered glass, thereby ensuring the interior is evenly illuminated.
The central niche arch of the mausoleum’s back wall is inscribed with Verse 109 of Surah Ash-Shu’ara.
The interior of the mausoleum follows a traditional design, with niches set 0.5m into each of the four sides. The upper arches of the sail vault are decorated with frescoes executed in the kundal and plated with gold leaf.
The drum below the cupola is decorated with a ceramic stalactite belt, typical of Samarkand and Bukhara structures of XIV-XVIII centuries.
The interior is decorated with white marble inlaid with various semi-precious stones brought from India, China and other countries.
‘Guldasta’ columns frame the inner sides of the portal.
The lower section of the border panel is tiled with pale green onyx carved with complex geometric girih patterning.
The central arches are inscribed with Verses from the Koran (from Surah An-Najm, Al-An’am, Ash-Shuraa, Al-Fatir), executed in suls and kufi scripts and plated with gold leaf.
The ornamentation of the interior decorative cupola is executed in kundal style and plated with gold leaf.
Each artistic element of both the interior and the exterior décor was developed individually with recourse to traditional methods and schools of both Samarkand and Central Asia as a whole.
The memorial headstone in the centre of the mausoleum is fashioned from onyx. Verses from the Koran and inscriptions from the Amir Timur and Timurid epochs are inscribed around it.