Architecture: The Timurid Architecture

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The Timurid period’s architecture had an ideology of grandeur and monumentality. Their ruler, Timur, is known for one of the most brilliant times in Islamic art, mainly due to bringing craftsman from different conquered lands. He created buildings that fused Islamic elements with Persian art and symbols of the nomadic culture of the Turks and Mongols. He chose Samarqand, “the city of domes,” for his capital and was an important trading city along the Silk Road.
Trademarks of the Timurid style were of monumental scale; multiple minarets, polychromy tile work, and large bulbous double domes. The Timurids are best known for their advances in architecture, especially the melon dome. A melon dome, or a bulbous dome, is a pointed dome that swells. The melon dome is present on the mausoleum of Ahmad Yasavi, Bibi Khanum congressional mosque, and the mausoleum of Gur-I Amir. They were known for their polychromy tile work on the melon domes as well as the exterior of buildings that made them the most elite and modern monuments of its time.
Timur commissioned the mausoleum of Ahmad Yasavi in 1389 (Figure 1). He ordered the construction of the mausoleum for the grave of Yasavi, as a sign of respect. This building marked the beginning of the golden age of Timurid architecture. This building includes innovative spatial arrangements, and a melon dome, key characteristics in Timurid architecture. It is located in northeast part of Hazrat Turkestan. The mausoleum reaches a height of 128 feet, with dimensions of 217 feet by 150 feet. It contains a mosque, burial chamber, and a madrasa. There are also 34 different rooms containing various types of precious objects.
The ribbed dome, also known as bulbous double dome, was placed over ...

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...ed for displaying the bodies of the dead before burial. It is believed the doe mimicked this form of the tent in the form of urban materials of stone and brick. The melon dome of the Gur-I Amir dome is particularly suggestive of the circular ribbed skeleton that supported these nomadic domes.3
Just as Timurid architecture was influenced by Persian and Indian buildings, the great Timurid works came to influence the architecture of the Safavids in Iran and of the Mughals in India. The Timurids excelled in the realm of architecture and created new innovating architecture. Timur showed his power and conquer through the architecture he commissioned. The melon domes symbolize his rule and was also adopted in funeral architecture. The polychromy tile work on the melon domes as well as the exterior of buildings made them the most elite and modern monuments of its time.

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