Essential Architecture-  Iraq

Shrine of Zumurrud Khatun

architect

 

location

Baghdad

date

c. 1190

style

Islamic Abbasid

construction

 

type

Mosque
 
  Exterior
 
  Vault
 
  Creswell
 
   
This famous mausoleum was constructed by the Abbasid caliph al-Nasir for his mother, Sitta Zubaydah, the wife of Harun ar-Rashid. Located in an expansive cemetery, this brick tomb exhibits a nine-layered, cone-shaped muqarnas cover capped by a small cupola that rises to great height from an octagonal base, similar to the Imam Dur in Samarra. Hazarbaf decoration covers the exterior of the base while each façade is partitioned into four sunken square panels, two on the bottom and two on the top, themselves featuring decorative brickwork. Today, the tomb is entered from a square-planned, domed structure that was built to replace an earlier one. From this area, a staircase rises up to the base of the muqarnas dome while a tight corridor just over one meter large leads to the octagonal burial chamber. The light inside the vault emanates from small holes cut in the muqarnas dome producing a glowing effect.

The mausoleum has been restored periodically throughout its lifespan.

Sources:

Khalil, Jabir and Strika, Vincenzo. 1987. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad; the Results of a Joint Italian -Iraqi Survey. Napoli: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 18-22.

Michell, George. ed. 1978. Architecture of the Islamic World; Its History and Social Meaning. London: Thanes & Hudson, 247.

Ettinghausen, Richard and Grabar, Oleg. 1987. The Art and Architecture of Islam 650-1250. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 296-7.

links

Special thanks to the Islamic architecture website http://archnet.org/
www.essential-architecture.com