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Sheikh Seyid Allauddin Mausoleum

The most ancient, of the remaining architectural constructions of Khiva, is Sheikh Seyid Allauddin's mausoleum, dating back to the early part of the XIV century. The building was constructed by the pupil and follower of Sheikh Seyid Allauddin, a known mystic from the Nakshbandiy order, - Emir Kulyall. Originally the mausoleum consisted of one building with a small portal in the southern wall. It was a gurkhona (the tomb) with one dome in the form of a triangular flat sail. Then, the ziarat-khona (the praying place) with a portal and the entrance (functioning at present) was attached to this gurkhona in the XVIII century in the west wing. The initial entrance to the tomb has been taken out, and the arch aperture is arranged in its western wall, in an adjunction to the ziaratkhona. The niches of the same form deepened other ziaratkhona walls.

The mausoleum was extensively repaired in 1825. The ziaratkhona's decayed portal was reinstated with its pillars reduced in size, the niches in the interior were added, and the floor was laid anew and the interior covered with gunch (gypsum) plaster. It is decorated only with poetry and calligraphically written out in Indian ink, which narrates that the restoration was made by the order of Allakuli-khan (1825-1842) and that the construction trustee, khodja, was Khamid, Khubbi-Kuli khodja son. The deformed laying was strengthened. The area around the mausoleum is arranged well and its ancient aspect was diligently restored after excavations in 1957.

The mausoleum's sacred place - the magnificent majolica gravestone - has gained wide acclaim. The contrast of the mausoleum's modest furniture and high colourful gravestone is so considerable that the gravestone seems to have been brought here from elsewhere. It consists of a pedestal, with angular columns, supporting a massive plate with two "sagana" (Muslim gravestones' lancet end). A light relief is stamped on the facing tiles of the gravestone, painted with a small flower-plant ornament, which dates back to ancient Khoresm and Sogdian samples. The dark blue and pistachio colours add a distinct freshness. The white end of the sagana bears inscriptions, repeating, with minute differences, the chronogram with the date of Seyid Allaudin's death - on March, 18th, 1303. It stands out against a background of colourful ornaments. Beautiful patterns unique for its composition and tonality and glaze transparency make this ceramic one of the best samples of majolica facings art of the XIV century.