Legend of Ishratkhona Mausoleum - Turkestan Travel
Ishrat Khana Mausoleum

Legend of Ishratkhona Mausoleum

First Legend of the Ishratkhona Mausoleum

One day, in the suburbs of Samarkand, Amir Temur was riding through the cemetery of Hodja Abdi Darun and saw a woman of indescribable beauty in a blossoming peach orchard. He jumped off his horse, dismounted before the beauty and bowed. And then he became engaged to her and took her as his wife, and at the place of their happy meeting he built the pleasure house and spent his time with his wife there.

Second Legend of the Ishratkhona Mausoleum

Amir Temur’s favourite wife had a tomb built to serve as her resting place. The gilded peshtak and high dome were erected, the walls of the mausoleum were painted with Kunu’al patterns, and the stars were arranged in a star pattern. When everything was ready, Amir Temur was invited to inspect the construction. The lover of beauty was delighted and kissed the builder so hard in his admiration that she turned the tomb into the House of Pleasures to perpetuate the kiss. And she built a mausoleum for herself elsewhere.

Third Legend of the Ishratkhona Mausoleum

One day Amir Temur, his bahadurs¹ (bodyguards) and emirs put off their war armour and put on their light robes to retire to this building and indulge in the pleasures of life. So that no one could disturb them in their pleasant occupation, they placed guards at the entrance and ordered them not to let anyone enter the house of pleasure.

During the merry feast, Mirza Ulughbek, the grandson of Amir Temur, immersed himself, as was his custom, in the study of the stars and observed their movements, connecting the laws of their position with the destinies of the people, the land and the whole sublunary world. The young man worked long and hard at reading the stars and compiled horoscopes of fortune and misfortune. He saw that his grandfather, Amir Temur, was in mortal danger in the House of Pleasure, the hand of fate had already drawn its sword to cut the thread of his victorious earthly life.

Mirza Ulughbek mounted his horse and rode to Ishratkhona. But how was he to advance to the festival? How to see his grandfather! The door was firmly closed by the trusty guards, so that not even a small mouse could get through. So Ulughbek drew his sword, had his horse harnessed, roused the servants, rushed under the dome to the feast, grabbed his grandfather by the arm and, without saying a word as the fateful moment approached, pulled him towards the exit. He was followed by a crowd of guests who could not be understood and servants who were to be excused.

As soon as Mirza Ulughbek and Amir Temur emerged from under the archway of the entrance, there was a bang, the earth shook and the painted dome under which the emirs and bahadurs were celebrating collapsed, breaking into four pieces and covering with its fragments the high throne on which Amir Temur had been sitting only a few minutes before. Everyone fell to their knees and thanked Allah for saving them. The building of Ishratkhona was never rebuilt, for they saw in what had happened a sign from the Almighty and the predestination written in the book was irresistible to the people.


¹The word Bahadur originally means heroic or brave and is etymologically related to Mongolian Baatar, Turkic Baghatur, Turkish Bahadır, Russian bogatir (богатырь “hero”) and Hungarian bátor “brave”.

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