Mosque Name: Magokk-i Attor

Country: Uzbekistan

City: Bukhara

Year of construction (AH): 800-900

GPS: 39.773227 64.418328

Original Qibla: Petra

Rebuilt facing Mecca: Never


Because of its orientation, Pander (Zentralasien, 2004) speculated that this mosque was built in the 9th century on the remains of a Zoroastrian temple from the pre-Islamic era. However, before the Arab conquest there was a bazaar on the site of the Magok-i Attari mosque. It was a market for idols, potions and spices – attar (perfumes) and other goods. Besides this, there was formerly a Temple of the Moon (Mokh) close to this place. Before the construction of the first synagogue Jews in Bukhara had shared a place in a mosque with Muslims. Some say that Bukharian Jews and Muslims worshiped alongside each other in the same place at the same time. Other sources insist that Jews worshiped after Muslims. This seems understandable, because this mosque is oriented to the south of Jerusalem and Jews could have faced just a bit north.

The mosque is also notable for being one of the oldest surviving mosques in Central Asia and one of the few surviving buildings in Bukhara from the time before the Mongolian invasion.

In the 12th-century, when Kara-Khanids reigned in Bukhara, the mosque was substantially rebuilt and re-dressed. It also received a new main facade in the south. (Pander) In the middle of the 15th-century, it was restored and a new portal with iwan was built in the eastern ground. At the beginning of the 1930s the mosque was restored again.

Architecture The building has a rectangular ground plan of 12 x 7.5 square meters. In the main axis of the building, the flat roof carries two octagonal tholobates with latticed arched windows. They also have octagonal domes. Because of its age, the floor of the mosque is about 4.50 meters below the earth’s surface. Therefore, the mosque also has its name addition “Magok-i” which means “in the hole” or “in the subsoil”. Another “subsoil” mosque is the Magok-i-Kurpa Mosque located about 150 meters northwest. Narshakhi, in his ‘History of Bukhara’ (ca. 950), named the mosque built on the site of the former temple “magok”, i.e. “in a pit”, because even then half of it was concealed from view by the rising soil level. The southern facade is most richly equipped and was the former main entrance. Ornaments are made mainly by the arrangement of cut and carved bricks and by terracotta tiles with floral motifs. The pointed arch of the iwan is resting on two quarter columns set in walls, decorated with wattle.

By Yunuskhuja Tuygunkhujaev - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Yunuskhuja Tuygunkhujaev - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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