Zanghi-Ata

To the southeast of Tashkent, in Zanghi-ata village, in the grounds of an ancient cemetery, there is an architectural ensemble named Zanghi-ata. It was built in commemoration of sheikh Ai-Khadja (died in 1258) – who was from an Arabian clan who had dark complection – that gave his nickname Zanghi-ata (from “zanghi” – dark skinned). Owing to his father, Sheikh Tadj-Khadja, Zanghi-ata was the successor of Sufi tradition “Yassaviya” formed by Khadja Ahmad Yassavi. The sheikh lived and preached during the difficult years of the Mongolian domination when Islam lost its status as the state religion and Zanghi-ata had to act as a defender of Muslim culture. The Zanghi-ata Mausoleum was erected under Amir Temur in the end of the 14th century. Then a refined gravestone was produced for it. A mourning mosque ziaratkhana with a festive portal was constructed under Mirzo Ulugbek in the early 15th century.

At the end of the 18th century a madrasah was erected around the courtyard. After a powerful earthquake in 1868 the monument was badly damaged and later was reconstructed. At that time a memorial mosque with a wooden avian was built. In the early 20th century a minaret with octahedral base was constructed  in the center. The minaret has a tile with a very rare (for Muslin architectural tradition) symbol of a “labyrinth”. Near the grave of the Sheikh there is the mausoleum of his wife Ambar-bibi. She was previously the wife of a poet mystic Suleyman Khakim-ata Bakyrgani, who was the teacher of Zanghi-ata. When Sheikh Suleyman died, Ambar-bibi married Zanghi-ata and they moved to Tashkent. In local tradition the Holy Ambar-bibi is worshiped as a patroness of fertility and motherhood. The grave tomb of Ambar-bibi consists of two prismatic stones, incrusted with majolica.


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e-mail: info@marakanda.net,
100105, 1/1, Talimarjan Str, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

© Marakanda Expedition, 2017 .