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Arystan bab mausoleum.

Tours to Arystan bab mausoleum.

"Arystan Bab, also known as Arslan Bab or Salmani Fars, was a follower of Mohammed, and attended him on his deathbed, when the Prophet asked who would take his prayer chain (amanat) and search for his successor"

Cultural Journey from Turkestan to Arystan bab mausoleum.

The mausoleum of Arystan bab is an interesting monument of architecture of the XII - XIV centuries built on the grave of Arystan bab, religious mystic, preacher and teacher and spiritual mentor of Khoja Akhmed Yassawi. It is located in 2 kilometers from the ancient settlement of Otrar and the village of Shaulder in 150 kilometers from the city of Shymkent. The memorial is one of the key worship places of Muslims of the region.
Arystan baba Kumbez has undergone of complex evolution. Its present view took after great rebuilding in 1910-th. The volumetric-spatial shape of the monument is unique and at the same time is typical for folk architecture of southern Kazakhstan of XIX - XX c.c.
The tomb-mosque of Arystan bab is near Otrar, though much easier to get to, as it is close to the main road. Legend tells that this highly honoured Islamic mystic was the "discoverer' and teacher of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.
Arystan bab, also known as Arslan bab or Salmani Fars, was a follower of Mohammed, and attended him on his deathbed, when the Prophet asked who would take his prayer chain (amanat) and search for his successor.
Arystan bab asked for and was granted the assignment, and went out into the world. After hundreds of years of wandering, he came to a bridge near the town of Sayram, where an 11-year- old boy, Ahmed, stopped him and demanded the prayer chain, saying: "Aksakal, give me my amanat!"
Arystanbab understood that his quest had ended, handed the amanat to the boy, and became his teacher, journeying with him to Yassi, where the boy eventually became known as Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.
Preacher Arystan bab lived on outskirts of Otrar in the XII century. The name Arystan in translation from Kazakh language means “a lion”. In Sufi philosophy the Man of Way was called a lion. Arystan bab travelled the entire world.
He leant various religious courses. After converting to Islam he devoted all his life to teaching Sufi Islam. Arystan bab was a spititual mentor of many supporters of Sufi teachings. Akhmed Yassawi tells about Arystan bab ideas and activities in his book “Divani Khikmet”.
In his peoms Arystan bab is described as his spiritual mentor and teacher. Yassawi got aquainted with him when he was seven years old. The teacher wished him to avoid evil and violence, express kindness and love to God.
According to one of the legends, Arystan bab lived 400 years and was a supporter of Muhammad. The prophet told that after 400 years will be born the muslim, Akhmed. A persimmon from his dish must be given to him.
Arystan bab suggested to do it and said: “If you ask Allah 400 years for me, I’ll give it to him”. He fulfilled his promise and gave Akhmet Yassawi a stone of the persimmon. Initially the mausoleum was built on his grave after his death in the XII century.
Lately it was ruined by the Mongols. In the 14th century with order of Timur a new building was constructed on the place of the ruined mausoleum. Today only wood carved columns of iwan remained from the building.
It was demolished and restored in 1909. In 1971 the mosque was destroyed due to high levels of underground water and rebuilt again. Nowadays on the grave of Arystanbab stands a mausoleum with size of 35 x 12 meters.
It is built with burnt bricks. The building consists of double-chamber table tomb and commemorative mosque combined with a big vaulted corridor. At large the mausoleum is a multi-chambered building.
The center of the table-tomb is a majestic headstone of Arystan bab.
In neighboring premises are located headstones of his students and followers – Khermet-Azyr, Kargabab and Lashyn bab. The mausoleum was built as a result of gradual enlargement of various elements of the building to the initial premises. The table tomb and the commemorative mosque were combines with common frontal wall of facade.
The façade is wreathed with two minarets and decorated with figurative brick masonry. (Those with knowledge of Islam will observe that 500 years had passed between the death of the Prophet and the moment the amanat was handed over.
But then, God moves in mysterious ways...) It has a small but attractively proportioned facade; the carpet-draped tomb in a small room to the left of the entrance is constantly full of believers praying to the great man - there can often be a long queue outside.
On the right is a small but peaceful room that serves as a mosque; it is supported by ancient carved wooden pillars, and in an ante room you can admire a hand-written Koran with extraordinarily beautiful Islamic calligraphy.
Surrounding the mausoleum are hundreds of tombs, from simple graves to ornate palace-like structures, the final resting places of devout Muslims who wished to be close to Arystan bab. A respectful stroll around these grounds can be an atmospheric and satisfying experience.
In common, the style of construction, especially the style of the portal, is uncharacteristic to Central Asia. The portal is made with decorative elements of European and Russian architecture of the XIX century. The only medieval element of the building is a pair of wood columns preserved from the second period of the mausoleum’s construction (XIV - XV centuries).
According to historical data, this mausoleum was several times rebuilt and restored during the XII - XVIII centuries. Currently the mausoleum is considered as one of the Muslim sanctuaries of Central Asia and a place of pilgrimage.
Since 1982 the mausoleum-mosque of Arystan bab is protected by the government.

Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.Pilgrims in the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstan bab.In the neighborhood of the mausoleum Arstn bab.The mausoleum of Arystan bab.

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Photos
Alexander Petrov.