Trans Eurasia travel

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Mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh

Some 200m further on sits the Mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh, which dates from the end of the 12th century, or the beginning of the following one. Tekesh, who ruled from 1172-1200, turned the Khorezmshahs into a major power, his conquests including Khorasan in present-day northern Iran. The building, which has been recently restored, is square in plan, with a distinctive conical dome above a 24-sided drum. 'The beautiful turquoise tile-work that still adorns the dome explains one local name for the building, Gok Gummez ('Blue Dome'). The 'stalactite' decoration adorning the arch above the main doorway is also particularly fine. The building is sometimes known as the Mausoleum of Sheikh Sheref, following a local tradition as to its occupant. The absence of a cenotaph here has led some researchers to speculate that it was not a mausoleum at all, but a temple complex or palace of the Khorezmshahs. But architectural and written evidence mostly supports the attribution of the building as the Mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh, which according to one contemporary source formed part of a large complex built by Tekesh, including a madrasa and a library.