The Döner Kümbet, literally the rotating tomb, was built in the last quarter of the thirteenth century for Princess Sah Cihan Hatun. A short marble inscription gives her name, but omits the date. Stylistic similarities to tombs in Ahlat suggest that the tomb was built around 1276. It is one of the more striking and decorated tombs of Kayseri, where some of the most remarkable tombs of the Seljuk Empire are located.
The tomb is twelve-sided on the exterior and cylindrical on the interior. The square foundation slopes in toward the base of the twelve-sided structure, which is accessed by twin stairways that meet at a small landing in front of the doorway, facing north-northwest. Each of the twelve façades is carved in high relief with floral and geometric motifs, with additional panels containing flora and animal figures, including two sphinxes and a double-headed eagle.
The faces are accentuated by small columns at each corner that are joined to shallow pointed arches over each face. The transition from the dodecahedron of the main shaft to the conical roof is achieved with the arches. Two geometric decorative bands encircle the tomb below the muqarnas cornice.
Akurgal, Ekrem, and Léo Hilber. The Art and architecture of Turkey, 88. New York: Rizzoli, 1980.
Aslanapa, Oktay. Turkish art and architecture, 144. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971.
Gabriel, Albert. Monuments Turcs d'Anatolie, 77-79. Paris: Editions de Boccard, 1931-1934.