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 fa├žade 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