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Hodja Abdi Darun Mausoleum

For a picturesque scene from Samarkand's Islamic revival, visit the charming shrine complex Khodja Abdi Darun in the southeast of the city. It is associated with the name of ninth century Arab jurist Abd al-Mazeddin (Khodja denotes one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca). Hodja Abdi Darun Mausoleum (Sadriddin Ayni) shares a tranquil, shady courtyard with a mosque and a hauz (artificial stone pool).

Seljuk Sultan Sanjar erected a mausoleum for him in the 12th century, rebuilt by Ulug Beg in the 15th century behind a khanagha with portal and dome. In the 19th century a mosque and madrassah completed the ensemble set around a large hauz. Four ancient chinor trees throw dappled light onto the water as young boys attend Koran classes and old men pray beneath the colourful wooden iwan. The complex stands in a cemetery where a new madrassah is under construction. Nearby are fragments of the city wall, hence the mausoleum's title Abdi Darun, (the inner Abd), compared to al-Mazeddin's other shrine Abdi Birun, (the outer Abd), far beyond the walls in a southern suburb.

Bukharan vizier Nadir Divanbegi is credited with building the latter in 1633 and, as in his other works, the tiling borrows from earlier floral and geometric styles. Ongoing restoration is refreshing these patterns on the portal and dome above the mausoleum chamber, while the donations of the faithful rebuild the adjacent mosque complex.