SULTAN SANCAR TOMB RESTORATION – MARV / TURKMENISTAN
Date: April 2002 – July 2004
Restoration works of Sultan Sanjar’s Tomb in the city of Mary of Turkmenistan was tendered by the Turkish Cooperation and Development Administration under the Prime Ministry of the Turkish Republic.
The tender was awarded to Gentes & Pekerler Joint Venture on 02.04.2002 and the contract was signed in Ankara between the Ministry of State, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey and the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan of that time.
The projects and all architectural details were reviewed and approved by UNESCO as well.
Renovation of Sultan Sanjar’s Tomb, which has an extraordinary architecture, was closely monitored by Turkish and Muslim world and was very significant for Turkey. Joint Venture of Gentes & Pekerler renovated the tomb in accordance with the rules for renovation of historical artworks and completed the tomb in May 2004, after which the tomb was opened to visits of guests.
Sultan Sanjar’s Tomb is one of the most significant examples of the Tomb Architecture encountered in Central Asia and Iran after Islam. It is regarded as the wonder of the Seljuk architecture.
Sultan Senjar’s Tomb which had been erected by architect Muhammed bin Atsiz in Merv City in Central Asia has a star shape ribbed dome, 17m in diameter, was the biggest dome realized until that day.
The turquoise colour glazed tiles covered the outer dome which could not reach to our day. The walls are 6 m thick, the passage from the walls to the dome, was obtained by the vaulted pendants and the geometric tile network positions situated in the corners.
The crown of the last glamorous period of the Great Seljuk State, Sultan Sanjar (1086-1157) had played an important role in making the capital Merv a great cultural center for 39 years during his sovereign.
Before his death, the Sultan gave the name to his tomb which would reflect the splendour of the Great Seljuk State: “Dar ul Ahiret” (The Home of Eternal Life). Sanjar Tomb was also called “Devlethane” (The State Home). Arabic geographer and biography author Yakut Rumi (1179- 1229), gave information about Sultan Sanjar’s tomb in his book Mucem ul-Buldan about the history, geography and economic lives of the Islamic countries , which were repeated often in the researches.
Yakut Rumi indicated that the Dome, covered with Turquoise tiles, could be seen from one day distance. In the same book, it was mentioned that the building was overlooking the neighbouring Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque), the salaries of the tomb guard, the people who had been appointed to recite the Holy Koran continuously, and the expenditures of the building was met by a separate fund.
Mongol invasion in 1220 caused some demolitions in this region, too. The architectural monuments nearby the Tomb were destroyed, the outer dome collapsed.
Having destroyed Merv City, Mongols opened the coffin in the tomb in order to find treasure and started fire in the tomb. Sultan Sanjar was said to be a saint in rumours, since everything in the city was devastated and burnt down, yet, the tomb remained secure.