Syr-Darya Oblast. Aulie-Ata. Shrine of Saint Aulie-Ata


This photograph of a mausoleum (mazar) in Aulie-Ata (present-day Taraz, Kazakhstan) is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The six-volume photographic survey was produced in 1871-72 under the patronage of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-82) of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire’s Central Asian territories were called. Taraz is one of Central Asia’s ancient cities, known in the 6th century BC as Talas and subsequently a major point of the Silk Road. It is located in the southern part of Kazakhstan on the Talas River near the Kyrgyz border. The caption does not identify the saint to whom the structure is dedicated, but the building appears to be the Aisha-Bibi Mausoleum, which was built as early as the 11th century on the western outskirts of the city and was dedicated to a young noblewoman whose tragic early death was the source of many legends. The upper part of the structure shows major damage. The surface of the facade is visible through the trees, and shows a characteristic pre-Mongol ornamental style formed by patterns of projecting brick. (The brick probably came from Sauran, known in the region for the quality of its brick and ceramics.) On the ledge above the portal are what appear to be the skulls and horns of rams. The standing figure gives a sense of scale that is helpful in assessing the dimensions of the brick patterns.

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Сыр-дарьинская область. Г. Аулиэ-Ата. Мазар святаго Аулиэ-Ата

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 9.

Last updated: September 30, 2016