Gus settlement is beautifully located at the foot of the Chakilkali mountains (part of the Zerafshan range). Though being just a village Gus is amazingly huge with around 30,000 people living there, which is comparable to the largest villages of Kuban that have a reputation of the largest in villages the world.
The kishlak (village) is unexpectedly interesting and excluding cars, antennas and wires will remind you some southern European city in the middle of the 19th century.
The main local landmark is the mausoleum of Gavsuli Azam standing at the exit from the village to the mountains. The place is always crowded. The gray wall with the gate, facing the outside world, hides overcrowded aivan
Sufism is the mystical trend in Islam akin to Christian monasticism, with the numerous tariqas (orders) that arose in various parts of the world, and that absorbed elements of local pre-Islamic practices in their teachings. Bukhara's Naqshbandi, now the second-largest and most influential Sufi order, emerged in the 13th and 14th centuries and absorbed much of the "Turkic folk Islam" and some elements of Buddhism that was still practiced there in those times. However, the Sufi Order No.1 is not Naqshbandi, but Qadiri tariqa, which was formed at the turn of the 11th-12th centuries in the then flourishing Baghdad, and perhaps closest to traditional Islam: the members of this order are forbidden to stick to strict asceticism, there are no mystical practices, and Sufism itself is considered only a moral and ethical teaching. And Gavsuli Azam, or Abdul-Qadir Gilani - is its founder, who died in 1166.
Comparing with the scale of Bahauddin Naqshbandi complex or the pandemonium in the cave of Daud, the fact that one of the greatest Muslim theologians is buried here is very doubtful. Indeed, the real grave of Abdul-Qadir Gilani is in Baghdad and is revered as one of the main shrines of the Middle East, and the Urgut mazar is purely symbolic: if it were a case of the same honored Christian saint, it would be a monastery of his name, where they would keep his miraculous icon or some hallows. Well, Muslims, not having all these attributes, built a mausoleum with a symbolic tombstone inside, an opportunity for the local people to give a respect to the distant saint. The building of the mausoleum has no historical value but still is quite interesting by the design of its domes:
And it has a legend behind why it was built here. As the story goes, a long time ago a girl that was going to bring water from a spring was caught by a young shepherd, who was determined to dishonor her. The girl prayed for a miracle, and in distant Baghdad Abdul-Qadir Gilani who was making the ablution somehow heard her, and did the first thing that occurred to him - he grabbed his boot and threw it across his left shoulder. The boot, unexplainably turned out to possess superluminal speed properties, because at very same moment flew into the man’s forehead, resulting in him falling under the ground, and over that place grew a huge old plane tree that can be seen at the 2nd photo above.
The complex consists of several buildings: a mausoleum, several open ayvans, a local history museum, a circular brick construction resembling sardoba (underground storage of water).
The complex is built in the bed of a small mountain stream and is closely adjacent to its left-bank rocky slope. It is very cool inside the complex - everywhere green plantations - flowers, bushes, vineyard, trees. Nearby is a small pond and a spring with clear water and little fishes.
On the top area, right at the entrance of the museum opens a picturesque scene. The whole village is spread before the eyes. The exposition of the museum nearby reflects the way of life of locals for the last century. Founded in 1876 by the initiative of Russian scientists the museum today has kept its original appearance. Articles of the history are kept here with great care, including ancient jars (kumghons), lagans (large plates for palov) and stone grinders, ethnic clothing and suzani.
The building of the mausoleum is a cubic structure with four cylindrical turrets on the upper facets. The facade of all four sides of the mausoleum is the same: arched openings, in three of which there are figured lattices made from ganch, and on the western side there are carved doors in the arch. Above the arches are inscription in Arabian script - apparently quotations from the Koran and hadith. Coloristic decoration of the entire mausoleum is done in the most delicate blue and turquoise tones.
In the center of the mausoleum, on the marble pedestal, stands the tombstone of Gavsuli Azam, covered with a veil with gold inscriptions in Arabic script.