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Mausoleum of Kesene

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  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 1
  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 2
  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 3
  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 4
  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 5
  • Мавзолей Кесене. Photo 6


The Kesene Mausoleum, also known as the "Tower of Tamerlane", is a historical monument of the 14th century, located in the Varna district of the Chelyabinsk region. It is located 3 kilometers east of the village of Varna, on the shore of Lake Bolshoye Kesene, which is now overgrown with vegetation. The name "Kesene" translated from Turkic languages means "Tombstone House" or "Palace of the Dead". This mausoleum is depicted on the coat of arms of the village of Varna.

The Kesene Mausoleum is the only similar attraction in the Chelyabinsk region. The closest analogues are the Bendebike mausoleum, the Hussein Bek mausoleum and the Tura Khan mausoleum in the Republic of Bashkortostan.

Currently, the Kesene Mausoleum attracts many tourists. In recent years, the administration of the Varna region has improved the Kesene tract: an access road was built, a gazebo, a toilet, a swing and an iron tree were installed, on which tourists usually tie ribbons. The entrance to the mausoleum is always open, and anyone can visit its interior. Inside the structure, old original masonry work from the 14th century is visible on the walls. Inside the mausoleum there is one large, dimly lit stone room.

Description of the Kesene Mausoleum

The height of the Kesene Mausoleum is 17 meters. It has a square base 9 meters high, on which is a 12-sided drum, which turns into a prismatic tent. For the construction of the mausoleum, a square-shaped fired clay brick was used, which included egg yolk and camel milk. However, at present, the Kesene mausoleum has lost its original appearance, since the ancient brickwork was replaced with modern ones.

Around the mausoleum, ancient mounds from the Bronze and Early Iron Ages, as well as many small mounds from the late Middle Ages, were discovered. During Soviet times, about 700 graves were discovered around the Kesene Mausoleum. It is believed that these burials are part of an ancient necropolis or cemetery and are not directly related to the “Tower of Tamerlane”, since the mausoleum itself was built much later.

History of the Kesene Mausoleum

The history of the Kesene Mausoleum remains unknown. It was first mentioned by the researcher Captain P.I. Rychkov, who suggested that this was the grave of a king of an unknown people. Official exploration of the crypt began in 1889. Inside the structure, an ancient female burial was found with preserved remains of silk fabrics and gold jewelry: two rings with arabesques and two earrings in the form of a question mark, typical of rich nomads of the 14th century.

Legends of Kesene

Several legends are associated with the Kesene mazvolei, one of which suggests that the crypt was built by the ruler Tamerlane over the grave of his daughter (source):

The Mongol commander Timur Tamerlane settled in Samarkand at the end of the 14th century. At that time, he waged fierce wars with the remnants of the Golden Horde. In one of the battles with the Tatar Khan Tykhtamysh, Tamerlane defeated his opponent and captured his son. The prisoner was an unusually brave and courageous horseman. In addition, he was distinguished by amazing beauty. The son of the Tatar khan, brought to Tamerlane’s camp, was, according to the custom of that time, chained and put in a deep hole. Tamerlane's daughter found out about the handsome captive. She wanted to see the prisoner. When night fell, she quietly approached the pit. When she saw it, she fell in love with him. Taking advantage of their father's departure, bribing the guards, the lovers left Tamerlane's camp, but then a forest wall appeared in front of the riders and they saw a blue and quiet lake in front of them.

The girl helped the young man, bound in chains, get off his horse. Helped unfasten the chains. Here they pitched a hut and began to live. Seeing that the girl was sad, the young man said: “Write a letter and I will go to Tamerlane’s camp and throw him a letter with an arrow.

  • You might get caught. Let me release a dove with a note, it will fly to the tent, there they will catch the bird, read the letter, and the father will not be sad.

Having received the news from his daughter, the father was delighted and furious. Tamerlane sent a hundred of the best horsemen to look for his daughter.

At dawn the young man went hunting, bringing game, fish, and berries. One day, returning from the steppe, the young man hastily jumped off his horse: “I hear the sound of hooves,” he said anxiously.

And the earth was already shaking under the horses’ hooves. Timur's horsemen approached the Big Kesene, cutting through the air with a whistle, a pound club fell on the heads of the horsemen. The warriors fled from the battlefield, saving their lives and crying out for help.

Help came, another hundred warriors rushed towards the young man. But these no longer went into battle, headlong, they stopped at the forest and “showered” arrows.

“Give us the king’s daughter, and we will leave you alone,” they shouted, without moving from their place.

The battle began again and Tamerlane’s horsemen fell to the ground wet with blood. There were very few warriors left, but then the young man saw Tamerlane rushing towards him, burning with rage. What did the young man think at that moment? No, he did not seek to fight the king himself, he did not want to become the murderer of his wife’s father and turned his horse.

The young man galloped to his wife, she understood everything


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