The history of Modari-khan mausoleum is connected with the Nadira- the famous Uzbek poetess. The wife and the mother of Kokand khans, she continued to play a notable role in the life of the court even after the death of her husband. Her verses became the most valuable possession of the Uzbek poetry, whereas the buildings constructed by her orders have become the main attractions of Kokand.
When several years later after the death of Nadira’s husband Umarkhan – the ruler of Kokand, his mother also passed away, the poetess, as it befitted a devout daughter-in-law, ordered to construct a mausoleum above the tomb of her husband’s mother. Soon Modari-khan mausoleum became the burial vault for all the women of the khan’s kin.
Initially the Modari-khan mausoleum, which means “Mother of khan”, was a traditional Fergana memorial construction –khazira. The architectural complex included a domed construction with a portal, a commemoration mosque, and a fenced courtyard where gravestone were placed. However, since the construction of the mausoleum two centuries ago, there has survived only a splendid entrance pavilion.
A small portal with a low dome and soft vegetal ornament of majolica decoration framing the main entrance make the building look elegant and well-proportionate. Arched niche above the main entrance is filled with a cascade of snow-white ganch (gypsum plaster) stalactites. Two facetted towers flanking the façade immediately bring to mind the images of Bibi-khanym mosque in Samarkand as if alluding to the fact that both buildings were dedicated to great women. To the right, on one of the hexahedral tiles, the architect left the date the mausoleum was constructed – Hijra year of 1241 (1825). A legend says that kulol-ceramists from Rishtan, as well as local ganch fretwork craftsmen took part in decoration of Modari-khan mausoleum. The most noteworthy in the decor of the mausoleum is an amazing decoration of the inner vault. The craftsmen covered it with ribbed helix pattern made of ganch. Helix is one of the most archaic elements known from pre-Islamic time.
Madari-khan mausoleum actually became the burial vault for Nadira herself. In the 1840s the Kokand khans waged continuous struggle against Bukhara rulers for the ownership of fertile valleys and oases. In 1842 Kokand fell under the onset of the enemy. Townspeople and peasants could not resign themselves to losing freedom and independence. To a great extent their sentiments were roused by Nadira’s verses, who wrote:
I hope the day will come
For our dreams come true.
Bukhara khan ordered to put the poetess to death. The mortal remains of Nadira were buried in Modari-khan mausoleum. In mid-20th century the remains were reburied in another place and a monument in the form of a white marble arch was constructed above the grave of the great Uzbek poetess.