Dürbe of İslam III Giray
The Khan Cemetery is situated in a shady garden to the south from the Big Khan Mosque. Nine Crimean khans, forty-five other members of the ruling dynasty and some representatives of court aristocracy are buried there.
The Cemetery in the Khan Palace was not the only place where the rulers of the Crimean State found their last shelter. There were also two
s (mausoleums) in Salaçıq and Eski Yurt suburbs of Bakhchisaray where seven khans of the 15th and the 16th centuries were graved. Besides that many Crimean khans were buried outside their native country: their ashes lay in the lands of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Southern Ukraine. A biographer of the khan dynasty, Halim Giray, wrote that the Cemetery in the Khan Palace was the place where the burials of the next Crimean khans were placed:
Devlet I Giray
, 1577 (monument has not remained)
Ğazı II Giray
, 1607 (monument has not remained)
İslam III Giray
, 1654 (monument has not remained)
Mehmed IV Giray
, 1674 (monument remains)
Hacı Selim I Giray
, 1704 (monument has not remained)
Meñli II Giray
, 1739 (monument remains)
Selim II Giray
, 1748 (monument remains)
, 1767 (monument remains)
, 1769 (monument remains)
There are two dürbes on the Cemetery: the Northern (Dürbe of Devlet I Giray with six burial places, 16th century) and the Southern (Dürbe of İslam III Giray with nine burials, 17th century). A rotunda surrounds the place where Meñli II Giray lays. 98 marble and limestone tombstones remain on the Cemetery inside both mausoleums and in the garden. Unfortunately, a number of tombstones have been destroyed and lost since the times of the Khanate.
The most of marble monuments are decorated with fine ornamental stone-carvings. Symbols of grief (cypresses and hurma trees dropping fruits) are carved together with symbols of eternal life (roses, vines, stylised
Gravestone of khan Selim II Giray, 1748
Monuments of the Khan Cemetery are constructed following the single scheme consisting of a stone "sarcophagus" and two vertical steles (headstone and
footstone). Headstones are topped with stone-carved male or female headdresses and decorated with epitaphs. These epitaphs are of different kinds: they could be laconic prayers in few words or extended poetical works of descriptive or philosophical character.
An epitaph quoted below from the tombstone of Saadet Giray sultan is a good example of that mournful poetry:
Cruel fortune has buried into the ground a diamond from the string of the khans from the Kin of Jengis. Saadet Giray the qalğa of Crimea possessed many diamonds. One of them is
Baht Giray sultan, just and wise. Let he adorn himself with happiness while Saadet Giray lays in the ground. His venerable father
was distinguished with wisdom in the Kin of Jengis. Let be the mercy of God upon him and his ancestors! The righteous reign in eternity! The servant Hamdi wrote the year of his death: having such happiness let him sit solemnly on a luxuriant throne in the Paradise. 1176 (1762).
Each cemetery in Crimea was considered as a sacred place – then more the tombs of the Crimean monarchs were held in respect. In the old times special attendants
s) were constantly present at the Cemetery taking care of monuments and garden and reading prays for the souls of deceased persons.