The ancient monument Momine-Khatun is located in the city of Nakhichevan in Azerbaijan. It is known from the inscription on the monument that the tomb was built in 1186 in honour of Momine Khatun, the wife of Atabey Shamsaddin Eldaniz’s son Muhammad Jahan Pahlavan the ancestor of the Eldegiz dynasty.  The tomb of Momine Khatun, a monumental and magnificent building, has long attracted the attention of travellers and merchants visiting Nakhchivan, and the monument is reflected in many works.

exterior of the Momine-khatun-tomb

Structure of the Momine Khatun Tomb

The tomb of Momina Khatun is the most prominent example of circular Azerbaijani tombs. The mausoleum towered 34 meters above the ground, at the moment it has lost 9 meters. Time has not brought to us a large dome in the form of a tent, which was instead of a roof. The structure is made in the form of a decahedron. Each facet of the mausoleum is different from the other and is painted with a carved Arabic script. Only one ornament was repeated twice – where the entrance is provided. The entire perimeter of the tomb is decorated with quotes from the Quran.

The mausoleum of Atabek, oddly enough, does not have a dome as such, and its upper part is decorated with a stalactite composition. The monument consists of an underground part and a surface structure. The underground part of the tomb is rectangular in plan. The structure of the tomb of Momina Khatun, built of brick, is similar to the tomb of Yusif ibn Kushayir. The corners of the tomb are mostly covered with Kufic inscriptions. To show how important these inscriptions play in the general structure of the tomb, suffice it to say that the total length of these inscriptions reaches 500 meters. The ornaments on the tomb of the believer show that the artist has an inexhaustible imagination. The decoration of all surfaces is different. The artist did not allow repetition. However, his skill is that he created all the ornaments in the same way, along with diversity, and thus was able to maintain the overall unity of the monument.


incriptions of momine khatun

The masterpiece of the Architectural School of Nakhchivan

The 12th-century Mausoleum of Momine Khatun is a shining example of the so-called ‘Nakhchivan school’ – a medieval form of architecture characterised by its red bricks, turquoise tiles and geometric patterns. It was built by the acclaimed architect of the period Ajemi Nakhchivani to honour the beloved wife of powerful local ruler Shamsaddin Eldeniz. On one of the tomb’s 10 sides is written: “We depart but the world stays, we die but leave monuments behind.”

Inside these circular buds are floral patterns and recently clarified inscriptions in the form of ornaments. The words Allah (c.c.), Omar, Osman and Ali are written here.

From 30 September 1998 a unique masterpiece of the Nakhchivan architectural monument Momine Khatun Mausoleum was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

How to get to Momine Khatun Mausoleum

Momine Khatun Mausoleum is located in the city centre of Nakhchivan city, It is very easy to get there by walk which is located near to the main avenue named Haydar Aliyev.   It will cost around 2-5- AZN by taxi from any point in the city. Museum admission is free and it is open on weekdays from 9 AM till 6 PM

Panoramic of Momine Khatun Tomb from Google Maps