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Momine Khatun Mausoleum

It is a historical architectural monument in the city of Nakhchivan. Momine Khatun Mausoleum, a grandiose monument of the Azerbaijan national architecture, one of the pearls of the Eastern architecture was built in the west part of Nakhchivan city in 1186. The mausoleum was built in the West of Nakhchivan in 1186 by the architect Ajami Abubakr oglu Nakhchivani. Shamsaddin Eldaniz, the founder of the Azerbaijan Atabaylar state, made a decision to erect a mausoleum on the grave of his wife Momine Khatun, and its construction was finished by Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan, the son of the ruler, in 582 AH, in the Maharram month (April, 1186). People remember it as the “Atabay dome”. In the head arch of the monument these words were written in Kufic: “We pass away, but only the wind is left behind us. We die, but only a work is left as a present”. The total height of it was 34m, but later the cover of 8m was destroyed. The mausoleum consists of underground (vault) and aboveground parts. According to some investigators, Shamsaddin Eldaniz, the ruler of the Atabaylar state, his wife Momine Khatun, and his son Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan were buried in the mausoleum. The headstones of the buried people in the vault were robbed and taken away. Very masterly restoration works were carried out with the precious stone in the vault (2003). The aboveground part of the mausoleum is decagonal from the exterior (it was bordered with the Kufic inscriptions on either side), but its interior is round formed. There are four round medallions in which the names of the Caliphs were written inside the dome. According to its completion, the Western part of the mausoleum is differed. Here the surface was divided into two parts: in the under part the entrance door was completed in the head arch form, but in the above part the ornamental designs were given. The inscriptions showing the name of the sculptor and the date of its construction were engraved in the above of the head arch. 

The monument reflects the ancient history of Azerbaijan, great statehood, a very high level culture, its great architectural schooling, side by side of its grandiose architectural richness. For its composition, perfectness, neatness of separations and architectural solution the tomb is considered one of the architectural masterpieces of the Middle Ages. M.V.Alpatov, popular historian of art, full member of the USSR Academy of Arts writes about the tomb: "The tomb of Momuna khatun erected in the 12th century in Nakhchivan by the Azerbaijani masters is a monument of a rare beauty and neatness. The Momuna khatun tomb is eternal as the most magnificent classic works in the East-like the "Shahname" of Firdovsi and "Leyli and Majnun" of Nizami. For Alpatov even in that period Middle Europe architecture to meet such a beautiful monument is impossible. Together with its grandiose architectural richness the monument demonstrates the old history of Azerbaijan, high leveled culture and great architectural schooling of Azerbaijan. It is clearly seen from the photos and paintings of the 19th century that there were monumental buildings and also Jameh mosque around the mausoleum. 

As a part of mausoleums of Nakhchivan, a unique masterpiece of the Azerbaijani architectural tradition Momine Khatun Mausoleum was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding on September 30, 1998.