Ismail Samani Mausoleum


This mausoleum in Samani Park, completed in 905, is the town's oldest Muslim monument and one of its most architecturally interesting. Built for Ismail Samani (the founder of the Samanid dynasty), his father and grandson, its intricate baked terracotta brickwork – which changes 'personality' through the day as the shadows shift – disguises walls almost 2m thick, helping it survive without restoration (except of the spiked dome) for 11 centuries.

Behind the park is the Talipach Gate and one of the few remaining, eroded sections (a total of 2km out of an original 12km) of the Shaybanid town walls. If you have eight minutes to spare take a ride on the nearby Ferris wheel for views over the mausoleum.