Some time ago the Great Silk Road passed near Taraz city, thousands of traders, travelers from different countries walked along the way. And today, this ancient land attracts tourists and lovers of antiques from all over the world. Travelers want to see with their own eyes one of the finest examples of medieval architecture - Mausoleum (mazar) Aisha-Bibi, built in the XI-XII centuries by unknown architect of ancient Taraz.
It is a monument of Love and Sorrow.
Reliable information about the construction of the mausoleum has not remained, but a beautiful legend about the boundless love of beauty Aisha -Bibi to her fiancé is passed on from generation to generation. This legend is so popular that more than two dozen of its versions exist.
It says that the daughter of Zengi Baba, the saint patron of the cows, the incomparable Aisha became enamored of the ruler of Karahan, whose capital was located in the ancient Taraz. The way from the girl father's house to the house of her lover was very long. Exhausted by the journey, belle has decided to wash off the dust before the long-awaited meeting. So bathing in a small river Assa was arranged. But doom hung over the girl. When she got off the camel, threw off her clothes and got closer to the water, a black snake crawled out from under the stone and clung to the girl’s snow-white skin with a deadly kiss...
Dead belle Aisha -bibi was buried at the same place and guardian of the tomb became her inseparable companion and friend - Babaji Khatun, she was buried next to Aisha, when her time came...
Almost a millennium has passed since then, but two eternal girlfriends and two eternal mausoleums are still standing.
Aisha -bibi monument near the Taraz is unique with its decoration and trepidation of the proportions. Samani mausoleum is the only one well-known monument in Central Asia - in Bukhara has a clear similarity. But the luxury in Bukhara is understandable; it used to be one of the main cultural centers of the world with its famous artisans and architects. And here, such monuments did not just appear on the border with the Great Steppe. For the construction of such monument were needed a very strong argument and will.
I began the story with the narrative, but it is no more than a legend. In fact, no one knows who Aisha Bibi was and why she was honored with the immortal name. But it is so understandable that people desire to see a love story in the woman monument. Other Muslim monuments remember immediately - the Taj Mahal in Agra, Bibi Khanum in Samarkand. Although Islam tried to belittle a woman, but Islamic rulers were men by nature. And even if it was not like this, the rumor over the years made them so.
Aisha Bibi mausoleum remained to now days as the majestic ruins. Rumor has that a century ago mausoleum was intact and even had a cupola, and scientists had argued and speculate about its form. Monument was not restored for a long time, it was covered under the glass sarcophagus; until modern restorers have restored everything as they deemed appropriate.
The glance catches the abundance of the crosses in the clay decor of the mausoleum. It can be certainly explained from the construction aesthetic, but such explanation would not be correct; it is not a club of the Soviet era, where the design was created by "its artists" from "own material" (and even not a nightclub with a modern creative design "a la Andy "). In the monuments, every feature has its own value; another thing is if we actually remember the primordial sense. Crosses on the grave, are they random? Islam did not come here on the empty space, Nestorian-Christians, Manicheans, Buddhists - all of them were living here for centuries before Islam.
But with all of this, Aisha Bibi mazar has all the features that inherent for the holy mazar. For a long time mausoleum was neglected, but today work is in full swing, Muslims and especially Muslim women are coming here with their pains and sorrows.
... I can write about Aisha-Bibi forever, but it does not give even a hundredth part of that experienced when you have actually visited the place. You have to see and feel such things, they were designed this way.
Another two mausoleums of medieval monuments survived more or less in Taraz; they stood once at the local Uzbek cemetery, and now they are in a city park. One of them, according to legend, belongs to Aulie-Ata Karahan, patron of Aulie-Ata (it is old name from pre revolution time), some people consider him a descendant of Ali himself, while others thinks that he is descendant of the famous Sufi - Ahmed Yasawi. Anyway, it seems that the "Father Karahan", took a part in spreading Islam among the local population. There is even a suggestion that he played in the history of these places, the same role as St. Vladimir did in the fate of the Kievan Russia. Although it does not confirmed.
P.S. Pictures of Aisha Bibi and Babaji Khatun were made before the controversial restoration.