Aisha bibi mausoleum is a unique and the most interesting monument of architecture of XII century which does not have analogues in architectural-constructional culture of Kazakhstan and Northern Asia. The mausoleum is decorated with splendid tiling of terracotta panels which is decorated with 60 kinds of ornaments. The mausoleum is situated in the village of Aisha bibi (a former settlement Golovochevka) of Zhambul district Zhambul region 18 km from Taraz. He is a masterpiece of the middle ages architecture of Karakhanids age, which was raised at the caravan path to the south Akyrtas.
There is not exact information about the mausoleum, but it is a monument to love and sorrow. There are 28 variations of the legend about love of eastern beauty Aisha-bibi and brave Karachan.According to one of the most romantic legends, Aisha bibi was the daughter of well-known 11th century scholar and poet Khakim Suleiman Bakyrgani, after her father's death, Aisha was brought up by Sheikh Aikhodzha. Aisha loved a young ruler of Taraz Karakhan Muhammed(for whom Karakhan Mausoleum in Taraz was built). Once Karakhan Muhammed asked for Aisha's hand however her guardian – Sheikh Aikhodzha did not give his consent. Thenagirl went to her sweetheart to Taraz without permission by deception. Unfortunately, a fiancée did not see her any more as she died at the Assa River of snakebite which was hidden in the headdress. The mausoleum was erected on the place of her death. According to another legend, the beauty Aisha was Karakhan's wife and the ruler mourning her early death found the best masters in order to build the mausoleum of unexampled beauty at her grave.
The mausoleum is a square construction by its plan. Itssizesare 7, 6х 7, 6meters. Small recesses, small columns, arches, lancet arches, terracotta tiling panel were used for its appearance.Walls of the mausoleum are 80 cm thick. Wooden beams from juniper were laid with a purpose of joining walls and columns. The mausoleum was built from burnt brick, tiled with terracotta panels outside. There is recess with lancet arches in the centre of the facade of the mausoleum. Corner columns get narrow upwards, where they are decorated with ornamented tiles with vegetation ornaments. There is a gravestone in the centre of the mausoleum (3 х 1,4m). There are belts with signs in Arabic alphabet on west columns. Snatchesof anolddistichare seen on one of the corner columns: «Autumn… Clouds.The Earth is beautiful…».
Only west wall remained from the primary building. Kinds of ornamental art of the ancient tribes in Kazakhstan including geometrical, zoomorphic and vegetation motifs are combined in patterns of the mausoleum. Composition a land joined ornaments in the shape of geometrical pictures, consisted of interweaving of polygons, crosses, stars, also vegetation motifs in the shape of stems of flowers, are rich and various. As whole wall, capitals and columns from terracotta blocks are covered with slender pictures expressing rich collection of motifs of national ornaments originated from the art of Andronov and Scythian tribes. The mausoleum can be compared with such world masterpiece of the ancient architecture as Ismail Samani mausoleum in Buhara.
A big number of scientific and scientific-popular works are devoted to Aisha-bibi mausoleum. The first researches of the mausoleum in 1893 were held by a Russian archeologist Vasili Bartoldal so it was studied by V. A. Callaur - in 1897, expedition of History and culture institution KazFAN of the USSR - in 1938-1939, expedition of the Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan – in 1953. The protective bell glass was built in 1960 for protection the mausoleum, it was used for educational and tourist aims. Archeologists and historians had discussions about are vival of the mausoleum for a long time.In 2002 Nishan Rameto was hired for restore the mausoleum and building the park around it.
There is another famous cupola near Aisha bibi mausoleum – Babadzha hatun Mausoleum. According to the legend, Babadzha was Aisha's escort in her last journey and after her death Babadzha was a curator of her mausoleum and was interred 20 steps from her.
Babadzha hatun cupola had a cubic shape, its sizes are 6,9х 6,9 х 5,0m, the walls are 1, 23 m thick. It was built from a bright burnt brick 25 х 25 х 4,5 cm.The architectural composition of the cupola is simple. Three facades (except the west one) of the building are decorated with niches and medallions. Planes of walls of the facades are decorated with dummy arched windows and niches. Circles from brick executed by figured work were brickedo ver windows. Decorative niches and medallions were enclosed into the frame.There is a cogged horizontal line formed with double bricks, which turned to the outer wall with angles over the frame. The same lines are over the parapet and barrel on which the cupola is situated. The building of the mausoleum is crowned with a cut barrel which serves as a foundation for 16-costal conic cupola, which was not kept to the present time. In 1981 the cupola was reconstructed according to the project of "Kazprojectrastavration" institution. Also reconstruction works were held from 2001 to 2004. For tiling the mausoleum panels with 72 patterns was made by master restorers by hand during 3 years according to the old technology in special floor stoves. Complicated works such as strengthening the foundation of the mausoleum, lifting the walls, tiling the walls with carved terracotta panels, building the barrel, sails, outer and inner cupolas were done.Also works for beautification, electric lighting and fencing the territory were carried out.
The monument arouses tourists' interest not only by its unusual architecture but legends saying about love of Aisha and Karakhan.