Tughluq Temur Mausoleum
Huocheng, China
The Mausoleum of Tughluq Temür is located in Huocheng, a town in the upper Ili River Valley of northern Xinjiang, near the border with Kazakhstan. It was ostensibly built in 1363 upon the death of Tughluq Temür Khan (1359-1363), the last descendant of Genghis Khan in the Chagatayid line. Tughluq Temür ruled in Mogholistan, beyond the Syr Darya River, and sieged Huocheng between 1360 and 1362 in his quest to establish Chagatai rule in the region. With his death in 1363, the Khanate crumbled and Tamerlane who was a vassal under Temur incorporated the region into the kingdom he established at Samarkand.

Tughluq Temür's mausoleum resembles tombs in Bukhara and further west, with its exclusive use of arches and domes. The brick mausoleum is about eleven meters wide and sixteen meters deep with a monumental entry arch. A brick dome, plastered white on the exterior, rises from the center of the tomb to an apex of fourteen meters. A balcony runs along its inner rim. Inside are two cenotaphs marking the graves of Tughluq Temür and his son.

In contrast with the whitewashed exterior walls, which are modestly adorned with shallow niches, the front elevation of the mausoleum is richly detailed with a mosaic of primarily blue and white tiles. The arched portal recess is bordered with inscriptive bands and its surfaces are covered with interlaced stars and floral patterns composed of green, blue, purple brown, black and white on tile mosaic. The tympanum of the arch is decorated in blue and white tiles with the word "Allah" in Kufic script. The lower portion is, likewise uniquely tiled, although the tilework around the wooden door is no longer intact.

Beside the mausoleum is an identical yet smaller building, decorated simply with a brick cornice. This subsidiary building is said to contain the tomb of Tughluq Temür's daughter.


Chang, Jing Qi. "Islamic Architecture in China." In The Changing Rural Habitat. Volume II: Background Papers, edited by Brian Brace Taylor, 71. Singapore: Concept Media, for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1982.

Knobloch, Edgar. Monuments of Central Asia: A Guide to the Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Turkestan, 175. London: I.B. Tauris, 2001.

O'Kane, Bernard. "Chaghatai Architecture and the Tomb of Tughluq Temir at Almaliq." Muqarnas 21 (2004): 277-288.

Qiu, Yulan. Ancient Chinese Architecture: Islamic Buildings, edited by Sun Dazhang, 120, 166. Vienna: Springer-Verlag, 2003.

Zhang, Jing-qui. "Mosques of Northern China". In MIMAR 3: Architecture in Development, 58. Singapore: Concept Media Ltd, 1982.
Huocheng, China
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1363/764-765 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Tughluq Temür Mausoleum
Mausoleum of Tuhuluk Temur
Building Usages