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Uzbekistan is a country where Islam is widely accepted and practiced. In almost every community, there is a mosque where men go to for daily praying, Friday praying and Ramadan praying. Due to this fact, mosques are an integral part of Uzbek culture and many of them are really grand and spectacular. You will visit the most famous and biggest ones. As these places are sacred, you should follow proper manners. For example,

  • shoes must be removed when entering
  • women should cover their head with a cloth
  • minimum of skin should be visible

For more manner hints, refer to MUST-KNOW.

Jami (Juma) Mosque - Tashkent

Jami (Juma) Mosque - Tashkent

Jami (Juma) Mosque is the basis of the Registan ensemble located in the area of Chorsu square. The period of its construction from the 15th c. to the late 19th c. It is a unique example in Tashkent of a Friday mosque of domestic type built in Central Asia during the era of the late Middle Ages. The main building represents a cubic space blocked by a dome with four windows in a low drum. The east wall enters the court yard and is divided by a large arch. The dome is spherical without ornamentation, and is based on spherical shields. A curve of small niches at the entrance is lancet, not Central Asian but more likely Gothic contour.

The layout of the mosque is an extension of a large rectangular building bat the end of its longitudinal axis running east to west. By the 18th c. the gallery surrounding the court yard of the mosque had collapsed, and the main building had already been ruined. At that time, the galleries were reconstructed into khudjras with funds from Kaziy Ziyauddin.

In 1888 the main building was also totally rebuilt on the expense of the imperial treasury (subsequently the mosque has received the name "Imperial"). Only the ancient construction layout and fragments of designs have been preserved at best. The base is constructed from stone with the addition of a clay solution. The walls of the mosque and columns are made from square baked clay bricks, with crushed brick as a stone filling.

Zangi-Ata Mosque - Tashkent

Zangi-Ata Mosque - Tashkent

The Zengi-Ata Mosque is included in the basic mausoleum complex. It was built by Zengi-ata Kaziy in 1870. The mosque encloses the court yard in front of the mausoleum from the southwest. From 1914-1915 the mosque underwent restoration and was partly reconstructed the ayvan was changed, the slope of the roof above the gallery was remade, and the southern facade was shifted.

The mosque has been used for celebratory prayers. It represents the building with an extended component in a cross-section direction, with a large portal-dome in the center, lowered wings of arch-dome galleries on the sides and a wooden terrace in front of the building.

Hazret-Hyzr Mosque - Samarkand

Hazret-Hyzr Mosque - Samarkand

The mosque named after Hazret-Hyzr, an Islamic saint and eternal wanderer, stands on the southern slope of the Afrasiab hill, at the crossroads beside the central bazaar. A legend says that Hazret-Hyzr helped the patron of Samarkand, Kusam ibn Abbas, to escape and become immortal.

Once there was a heathen temple here in which idols were worshipped in the first years of Islam. The temple was converted into a mosque. Hazret-Hyzr was esteemed as a saint, bringing good luck and wealth in faraway voyages and trade. Today's mosque was built on medieval foundations in 1854. Carved ganch and colored paintings on the ceiling decorate the interior.

Bibi-Khanym Mosque - Samarkand

Bibi-Khanym Mosque - Samarkand

The majestic blue domes of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque are the unusual sight. It takes one’s breath even from understanding the scale of construction of this monument, impressing with its size and beauty. In antiquity the dome of this mosque was compared with the dome of heaven and the arch of portal – with the Milky Way.

As well as all Samarkand monuments the Bibi Khanym Mosque also has the beautiful legend. According to it, the terrible ruler built the mosque in honor of his favorite wife Bibi Khanym. After successful campaign to India Temur decided to build the biggest building of the East – the mosque – which should have exceeded all mosques of the world by its size. Sparkling walls, high minarets, wide portal of the mosque, decorated with carved marble, must have praised for centuries the name of Temur and his favorite wife.

Hundreds of architects, painters and builders were taken to Samarkand. The construction lasted for 5 years (1399-1404) and when Temur came back from another campaign it was ready-built. The yard of the mosque was surrounded by luxurious galleries, the arches of which lied on more than three hundred marble columns, minarets towered on each side of it.

Unfortunately soon after the completion of the construction, when the mosque became the place of ceremonial acts of worships, the building began collapsing. The idea of the creator to build such magnificent building was too bold for that period. The majestic arch of the portal, which according to Tamerlane’s plan should have repeated the Milky Way, could not withstand the test of time and had collapsed in the very first years after the construction.

Bolo Hauz Mosque - Bukhara

Bolo Hauz Mosque - Bukhara

Every Friday, an exquisite spread of deep red Bukhara’s rugs would embellish the ground leading from the Ark to the 'Mosque Near the Pool'. Splendidly attire emir would venture out from behind his fortress protection to atone for his sins under the splendid dome of the Bolo Hauz. Today, the carved stalactites of its elegant wooden pillars still carry echoes from the royal court mosque in the Ark. High carved and painted decoration of the Bolo Hauz (1712) still draws admiration. The mosque's facade again attracts the eye with restored primary of colors and its 12-metre high iwan still stands as of the highest, most graceful and most beautifully decorated in Central Asia.

Balyand Mosque - Bukhara

Balyand Mosque - Bukhara

Hidden on the fringes of the old town, some 400 meters south of the Kosh Madrassahs on Mira Street, the Balyand (High) Mosque is a frequently overlooked 16th century gem. Upon initial inspection, its facade is unimposing, notable only for the slender columns of the iwan which gives the mosque its name, devoid of the monumentality inherent in so much of Bukhara’s architecture. But beneath its anonymous exterior revels undisturbed some of the most luxurious decoration to be found in Bukhara. This architectural schizophrenia is buried deep in the mosque's reason for existance. Its district was a rich one and a district traditionally reflected its social standing and religious piety through its mosque.

The interior of the mosque is small and intimate. Prayer mats quilt the floor in comfortable familiarity. The artistic and spiritual focus of the mosque is an intense burst of polychrome mosaic and tile-work, decorated with vegetable motifs and Quranic inscriptions. Beautifully carved wooden ceiling is remarkable for its unrestored paintwork, suspended on chains from the cross beams above. The Balyand now functions again as a working mosque and should be left in peace during namaz prayer.

Kalyan Mosque - Bukhara

The Kalyan Mosque

The Kalyan Mosque is one of the outstanding monuments of Bukhara, dating back to the fifteenth century. According to data from archaeological excavations, the original Karakhanid Djuma Mosque was destroyed by fire and dismantled, apparently at the time of the Mongolian invasion. Some time later, it was rebuilt, but this reconstructed mosque did not remain long. A new mosque was built in the fifteenth century, at the time of the Sheybanids, according to written sources of the time.

Under Temur, the construction of monumental buildings was concentrated in Samarkand and Shahrisabz. However, under Ulughbek, the powerful clergy of Bukhara initiated the construction of a new Djuma Mosque on the site of the old one. Its dimensions are just slightly smaller than those of the Bibi-Khanim, Temur's congregational mosque in Samarkand. However, Bukhara's Djuma Mosque is not decorated as elaborately as the Bibi-Khanim.

The layout of the Djuma Mosque (named the Kalyan Mosque) is traditional: a rectangular courtyard with a tall and large maksura room on the west side. Each of the courtyard axes has a large ayvan and the perimeter of the courtyard is built up with pillar-domed galleries (there are 208 pillars and 288 domes). The maksura is square and has deeply recessed niches on the transverse axis and a mihhrab on the main axis. Slabbing is typical for the early fifteenth century,-an octahedron of arched pendentives supports a vaulted inner dome and is capped by a spherical blue outer dome upon a drum. This structure still dominates the skyline of Bukhara.

Construction of the mosque was completed in 1514 under the direction of Ubaidulla-khan. new elements were a main facade with peshtok in the centre of it, gul-dasta (towers) and arches on the walls. The decor of the mosque is constrained, composed primarily of glazed tiles and bricks that form knots, and is concentrated mainly on the main facade and the mihrab. Interestingly, however, beyond this facade archaeological research has revealed an earlier decor, composed of six sided tiles and a mosaic border. The earlier decor is marked with the name of the master who made it, Bayazid Purani, and dates back to the fifteenth century.

Magok-i-Attari Mosque - Bukhara

Magok-i-Attari Mosque

Descend the 6-meter deep cultural layers of the Magok-i-Attari Mosque and you will find heathen shrines, the remains of a Buddhist monastery, a Zoroastrian temple and the mosque of the Arab invaders, all sharing the same space. This is what archaeologist V. A. Shishkin found during his 1935 excavations, unveiling as he worked a unique vertical spread of 2,000 years of Bukhara’s history.

By the Samanid 10th century, the mosque began to be known by its present name, partly from the medicinal herb sellers who displayed their spices in the busy bazaar here, partly from the name of the name of the square (Mohh meaning either moon or the name of a mythological prince) and the twice yearly religious fair convened here, and also in part from the depth of its cultural layers. In 937 the four-pillared mosque was burnt to the ground in a city-wide fire and in the 12th century the present mosque was erected, from which the focus of the mosque, the original southern portal, remains.

Ak Mosque - Khiva

Ak Mosque - Khiva

The Ak (White) Mosque was built by Anush Khan in the middle of the 17th century. This is a small quarter mosque next to Palvan gates. The winter building with prayer hall has a white conical dome.

The Mihrab is located in the middle of the southern wall. A column aivan borders three sides of the winter hall. Ganch lattices decorate the windows of the mosque, and Epigraphic and ornamental carving decorates the door.

The inscriptions reveal the date of construction, 1838-1842, and the names of the builders Nur Muhammad, son of Adin Qalandar and Qalandar, son of Seyid Muhammad.

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