Archaeologists have discovered the oldest mosque in Taraz city of in Kazakhstan's Zhambyl province.
According to ECO Cultural Institute quoting by Inform.kz, the newly unearthed mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country and is visited by many pilgrims.
Nurlan Baghbayev, director of the Taraz Museum of Historical Monuments, said that the ancient mosque fragments were found in 2006 during excavations near the Karakhan Mausoleum. More than ten hundred years ago the mosque was rebuilt from the Nestorian church of the VII century into the mosque. Artifacts, dated to the early Nestorian Christianity, were discovered during archeological diggings. The finding provides a unique opportunity to determine the exact time of the rise of Islamic culture in Central Asia. The Taraz mosque is mentioned in the medieval written sources due to the military campaign against Taraz back to 893 by Samanid ruler Ismail ibn Ahmed, who conquered Taraz and converted the people of the city to Islam. It was him who ruled over to rebuild the ancient temple into the mosque.
It is worth mentioning that in 2007, former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited the historic mosque.