Maqbara-i Tekesh
Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan
The mausoleum of Anushtigid ruler Tekesh (1172 - 1200) stands near the Fakhr al-Din al-Razi mausoleum and Kutlug Timur minaret, in Kunya Urgench (or Gurganj), the dynastic capital of the Khwarazm Shahs (1077 - 1231). Also referred to as the Gokgumbaz (blue cupola) or the Sheikh Sherip Baba mausoleum by the local populace, this mausoleum's construction date and patron have not been established. An elaborate specimen of Khwarazm's pyramidal-roof-atop-brick-cube funerary typology, the structure draws influences from both the Seljuk tomb tower and domed square mausoleum typologies.

The mausoleum consists a double dome, with a near collapsed conical outer dome and arcuated inner dome, and a flanged drum crowning a mud brick cube chamber. The corners of this square chamber are chamfered off to create a partial octagon and assist the volumetric transition to the dome drum. Alternate brick panels and triangular flanges form the drum. The flat panels accommodate inset decorative terracotta panels. Muqarnas or stalactites fill in the space between adjacent flanges and help the dome spring from the drum's flat-ribbed surface.

Blue tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern decorate the tent-like roof, while a frieze of blue glazed tiles with protruding calligraphy runs around the circular base of the pyramidal roof. A west facing entrance portal features elaborate muqarnas along the iwan's soffit and a solitary double band of blind arches at the springing level of the portal arch. The square chamber's elevations are plain brick with no borders or inscription panels.

The mausoleum is in a poor state of preservation, with water-induced damage to the brickwork and dome.


Borodina, Iraida. Central Asia: Gems of 9th-19th Century Architecture, 33. Moscow: Planeta Publishers, 1987.

Hillenbrand, Robert. Islamic Architecture, 280, 533. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.

Knobloch, Edgar. Monuments of Central Asia, 38, 55. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2001.
Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan
ca. 1200/ca. 597 AH
Variant Names
Maqbara-i Tekesh
Mausoleum of Tekesh
Tomb of Takesh
Qabr-i Tekesh
Ghabr-i Tekesh
Building Usages