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Magoki Attori mosque – an ancient mosque of Bukhara


In the centre of Bukhara to the west of the famous Lyabi Hauz square is located the oldest mosque in Bukhara – Magoki Attori – is located.

Its construction in 714 is associated with the name of the Arab Sheikh, Governor of Khorasan, Qutayba Ibn Muslim – one of the first people who brought Islam to the territory of Central Asia. Even before the arrival of the Arabs to Bukhara, a bazaar was located on the site of the mosque, where before the establishment of Islam, Zoroastrian idols, medicinal herbs and spices – attoron – were sold. And in the beginning, this place was called Attoron Bazaar. There was also a cult Zoroastrian temple of the Moon.

In order not to drown out the history of the area, the mosque, built on the site of the destroyed temple of the Zoroastrians, was named Magoki Attori.

During its long history, the Magoki mosque suffered from several major fires and was reconstructed more than once. The last construction was carried out in the early XII century.

In 1541, the Bukharian governor, Abdulaziz Khan, wanted to demolish the mosque, as by that time it was heavily sunk in the ground and partially destroyed the front part of the portal. However, he was prevented by the leader of the Nakshbandi Sufi order, Sheikh Makhmudi Azam.

In the early Middle ages, it was also home to the ancient Mokh Bazaar. In the 1930s, the scientists excavated and found the remains of a carved decoration and foundation of the X century period. Under the soil layer, the southern portal of the mosque with unique blue ornaments and carved majolica was opened.

Later, during the late middle ages, Magoki Attori served as a quarter mosque with the entrance facing towards Lyabi Hauz.

Today, the lower portal in the form of an arch, decorated with stalactites, has been preserved from the facade of the ancient mosque.

The double quarter columns on the sides of the portal are an echo of the pre-Islamic era, and the decorative trimming of five carved ganch slabs with exquisite compositions in the form of an elegant ornament speaks of the power and greatness of the world of Islam in this land.

The Magoki-Attori mosque is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the historical centre of Bukhara.

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