Üç Kümbetler or “three mausoleums” date from the early twelfth century. The Emir Sultan Türbesi is the best of the three. It is the one to the left.
Many Seljuk (and later Seljuk-style) mausolea are a stone evocation of the pre-islamic funeral hills of the nomads of Central Asia. During their lives, prominent clan members had their funeral hill (‘kurgan’) prepared; when death came, a circular tent was erected on top of the kurgan, and the deceased’s body was laid out, in order to be greeted a last time by the clan members. After this greeting period, the body was placed in the burial chamber inside the kurgan.
A ‘tent-style’ Seljuk Türbe has two parts: a circular or polygonal room with a pyramidal or cone roof, where a cenotaph sarcophagus can be visited and honoured; this is the part referring to the funeral tent. Beneath this ornamented construction the real burial chamber (‘cenazelik’ or ‘mumyalık’) is to be found, where the deceased’s remains were buried; this is the part referring to the burial hill.
Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen.