Atyrau region is rich in its architectural monuments of culture, one of them is considered to be Zhuban Mausoleum. Being built in 1898, the mausoleum has become one of the most outstanding monuments of the Kazakh folk architecture.
To get this architectural monument is not easy even by a car, because it is located in the far, quiet corner of the vast steppe region, and yet if some of the tourists have a chance to occur in those places, they should definitely allow time to visit the Mausoleum of Zhuban.
These extraordinarily beautiful places literally breathe the history of the Great Steppe. The mausoleum is situated 90 km from the town Kulsary of Atyrau region, on the top of a 20-meter near-horizontal hill, traditionally, the highest point of a county was always selected for the construction of such structures.
Picturesque view is seen from the hill, it is especially beautiful in spring when the steppe comes to life and it is covered with a mass of flowers and wild grasses. The history of the construction of the mausoleum has its own legend, which imparts it an aura of romance and mysteriousness. According to the legend, the mausoleum was built on behalf of a wealthy citizen of the place Zhuban mullah.
Atyrau steppe was generous at the time, a lot of wealthy people lived here, but there was no one among them richer than Zhuban mullah. Disease spares neither the rich nor the poor, Zhubanov also became the victim of it. Realizing that he was terminally ill and had few days left, he ordered to bring the famous master Nugman. Nugman was a famous steppe architect and his fame spread far beyond the region.
- I wish I could remain an imperishable memory of myself. Build me a mausoleum, the mausoleum, at which several generations of my descendants would look, admire and remember me – he asked Nugman.
The famous master put his hand to it and kept his word, he had been building for only a few years, but the mausoleum turned out to be amazing. Three centuries have already passed, but the mausoleum brings us not only the name of Mullah Zhuban but the name of the outstanding Kazakh architect Nugman.
He immortalized his name leaving an inscription on the inner part of the north wall of the Mausoleum, his name and the amount of payment for this work are written there. By the measurements of that time the payment was very princely – 20 thousand rubles, 10 horses, 122 sheep, a pud of tea and 15 puds of sugar.
The legend is undoubtedly very beautiful, but there also exists another version of the Mausoleum’s building according to which this memorial was established by well-known masters – the brothers Karazhusupovs Ungalbay, Munalbay, Umerbay, Itbay, Imanbay. In 1985 Zhuban’s mausoleum was entirely renovated by efforts of Atyrau specialists. An attempt to renew the primary painting was made as well, but, unfortunately, modern scholars couldn’t reveal the secret of the ancient masters, and, if to look at the mausoleum today, we can see that modern painting doesn’t go a long way.
And those that are from the ancient times remain uncorrupted and they are still beautifying the construction. Zhuban’s mausoleum is a single-barrel domical mausoleum (5,85 х 6,75 m. according to the external measurement) with an entrance gate of south orientation.
On a compositional level, the memorial is divided into two main parts: a massive four-cornered framing and a helmet-shaped dome drum resting on it. All the facades of the mausoleum are divided into vertical and horizontal tiers with a row of shallow hovels. The composition of the facades is enriched with delicately performed flat relief ornamentation located right at the center of the upper circle.
The south façade is pointed with a parapet device above it. The mausoleum’s walls rest on a platy basement: they are set of blocks of sawn shelly soil. A supposititious fornication is the basis of the mausoleum’s floor slab, it is built on the passage of the quadrate walls towards the drum circle, on the joist-tramp.
The lower tier of facades division is preserved in the interior area where the hovels and pilaster strips are filled with colorful ornaments with a contour cutting. There, on the north wall, a poorly preserved Arabic-graphical epigraphy is set. The remains of five graves including a tombstone over Zhuban’s grave with kulpytas are preserved in the area of the burial chamber.
The total height of the mausoleum is 9,95м. Zhuban’s mausoleum looks strict, simple and majestic at the same time, it perfectly matches the landscape thanks to its successful location. Being an integral part of the surrounding illimitable steppe, it predominates over the steppe like a symbol of wisdom, eternal rest and the human spirit.
Using simple and ascetic ways, the master created a truly harmonious and bright construction. The mausoleums’ walls are made of the cream white shelly soil and decorated with fancy patterns. The slabs constituting the construction are bonded in a smart way, when modern restorers wanted to know what is hidden there, with the help of technology, they tried to move at least one slab of the construction. But the slab didn’t even stir.
Since 1982 Zhuban’s mausoleum is put on the list of cultural monuments of Republican national significance and taken under state protection.
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