The term "mausoleum" has come to be applied to any structure specifically designed to house bodies above ground, as distinct from structures designed for underground burial or receptacles for holding ashes.
In Italy the Roman emperors preserved the Etruscan tradition of tomb chambers covered by tumuli, the mound being given massive architectural form and faced with marble, e.g., that of Augustus, begun 28 BC of which only parts survive, and that of Hadrian, begun c.AD 125–30, now incorporated into Castel S. Angelo, both in Rome. From the 4th century mausolea were built for Christians, e.g., that of Theodoric, Ravenna, (c. AD 526). Classical style mausolea were revved by Protestants in 18th-century England, sometimes set in landscape gardens.
Mausolea of great architectural distinction were built for Muslims despite Muhammad's reported injunction against them. None is earlier than the late 9th century (the octagonal Qubba-al-Subabiya, 862) but from the 10th century they increased: the Tomb of the Samanids, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (c.914–43); the tomb towers of Iran, notably Gunbad-i Gabus, near Gurgan (1006–7); the vast Uljaytu at Sultanita, Iran (1313); and, in India, those of the Mughal emperors, notably the Taj Mahal, Agra (1613–47).
The most prominent 20th-century mausolea are secular, notably those of Lenin, Moscow (1924–3), of Ataturk, Ankara (1944–53), and of Mao Ze Dong in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (1958).
Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (5th ed.), 1998
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