Dating from the 12th century, the Maghoki-Attar Mosque in Bukhara is the oldest mosque in Central Asia. It also boasts an illustrious history of sacredness - remains of a Zoroastrian temple and a Buddhist temple have been found beneath it, and Jews once used it in the evenings.
History of Maghoki-Attar Mosque
This site was originally occupied by a Buddhist temple, then later a Zoroastrian temple that was built in the 5th century. Zoroastrianism was a monotheistic faith and the state religion of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam.
The Zoroastrian temple was destroyed by the Arabs and replaced with a mosque in the 12th century, which was named Maghoki-Attar ("Pit of the Herbalists") because of the nearby spice bazaar.
The Maghoki-Attar Mosque is said to have been used by Jews as a synagogue in the evenings until it was rebuilt in the 16th century. An earthquake destroyed the mosque in 1860. It was excavated and restored in the 1930s, during which the earlier structures were found.
What to See at Maghoki-Attar Mosque
The Maghoki-Attar Mosque (also spelled Magoki-Attori) is a pleasing mishmash of the original 12th-century building (mainly in the southern facade and doorways) and the 16th-century reconstruction.
The plaza that surrounds the mosque is lower than the surrounding streets and is at the level of the town in the 12th century. When excavations began in the early 20th century, only the top of the mosque was visible.
Inside the mosque, visitors can see a section of the excavations that has been left exposed and an exhibition of Bukhara carpets and prayer rugs.
Quick Facts on Maghoki-Attar Mosque
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|Coordinates:||39.773248° N, 64.418362° E|
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Map of Maghoki-Attar Mosque, Bukhara
Below is a location map and aerial view of Maghoki-Attar Mosque. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.