17 January, Tuesday

History Speaks - Sacred Geometry or the Revealed Secrets of Garabaghlar Mausoleum - Exclusive

Analytical Wing

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My Dad, Mammad Devrijov is an architect. Being the daughter of an architect, I have been quite lucky to get to hear about some architectural monuments, their geometry and stories behind. Garabaghlar mausoleum has always been more appealing to me with its unique structure and hidden meanings on it. I have had the chance of visiting there in 2013. Seeing that architectural/historical/cultural pearl and touching its remnants by hand, collecting ceramics pieces dropped throughout the time and analyzing them recalled all that I heard from my Dad.
The mausoleum is titled by the same name of the village where it is located - Garabaghlar village in Kangarly district of Nakhchivan. The time of construction of the building is supposed to be 14th century. The monument is called as Guti Monument in some resources, since it was built by the Elkhani rules Hulaku Khan for the honor of his wife Mehriban Guti. This assumption is proved by the inscriptions on the main arch, where the name of Guti 
Khatun (lady) was written on.
There are two minarets and a spiritual building between them, 29 meters away from the mausoleum, which are supposed to be constructed in the end of the 12th century, beginning of the 13th century. According to what local people said, those minarets represent male and female standing next to each other. 
Islam does not allow to depict/create/ draw human faces, that’s why it was popular to build monuments for the honour of loved ones. The mausoleum consists of underground burial part and on-ground mausoleum part- like most of the similar typed monuments. The reason of distinguishing the building in this way is explained as, the below burial part being supposed for the buried body, which is more simple, dodecagon shaped stoned platform, while the upper mausoleum part is dedicated for the human soul, being more complicated and designed by ornaments in order to represent the highness and supremacy of human soul. Therefore, the building is mostly interrelated with human body and soul.
On top of the dodecagon stone platform, there are 4 portals/ arches and 3 semi-cylinders in between each arch. (12 semi-cylinders in total) Their semi circular structures gives a nice view to the building being projected outsides; also they are lightened in different degrees making the building seen more tower-like, higher and sublime. 4 portals- entrances are also designed in small size, to make the building look taller. The portals are covered by ceramics designed by geometrical and oriental-nabati ornaments on them. 
The facade is covered by inscriptions made as ornaments, by two different colored bricks. The inscriptions are in Arabic which seen as an ornament that covers the whole façade of the monument: 
“La Ilaha Illalah, Muhammadur Rasulullah Sallalahi Ali”
“There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Allah’s greetings go to him/ or Peace be upon him”
Throughout the history, a great number of travelers and investigators visited the monument and tried to unveil the facts and stories hidden in it, by the hope of revealing historical events.  Turkish traveler Ovliya Chelebi also made his way from Nakhchivan and visited this place. It is assumed that he could read on one of the portals/ arches in inscription which goes: 
“Ya Maliki Gahar, Hokmdara da divan tutmaq olar”
“Hey Maliki Gahar, the ruler can also be inflicted reprisals”
The monument is constructed in a specific way that its geometry represents some numerical meanings, which mostly specialists who investigate them are aware of. 4 main portals represent 4 directions – north, south, east, west and also 4 seasons of a year. 12 semi-cylinders with 30 degree angles represent 30 days in a month and 12 months in a year. Also, as for the “Zeus angle” in architecture, when 30 degree angles come next to each other for 12 times, they make a whole circle. Circle means eternity in Geometry. Considering the previously mentioned fact that, Garabaghlar monument represents human/ humanity, it turns out to depict the eternity of human soul. The monument symbolizes time, human being, eternity of soul and interrelation of them.

By Turkan M. Devrijova, M.A. Candidate, ADA University


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