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Muslim Mosque
(Dungan Mosque)
1910 year

Мусульманская мечеть
(Дунганская мечеть)
1910 год

Мусулман мечити
(Дунган мечити)
1910 жыл
Кыргыз тили (KG)
The building of the mosque in Karakol is closely related with the arrival of Dungans in the Turkestan region at the end of the 19th century. The group of Dungans that settled in this city came from China early November 1877 after their uprising in their homeland was suppressed. Yusup-hazrat, or Ae Lozhinja, the "venerable old man" (Dungan translation) headed that group.

In the spring of 1878, allotments were allocated to the settlers 6-7 kilometers away from the town. The Dungans founded Irdyk village, which official name is
Mariinsky. The rest of the refugees joined the propertyless workers. As a rule, after the settlers built their houses, they started building a mosque,
- the spiritual center of the community.

For the construction of the mosque in Karakol, Chou-si or Zhou-Sy? was invited from China. He directed 30 masters. From 1907 to 1910 preparatory operations were carried out and materials were collected. After that, the assembly of the mosque took only 3 months.

The mosque reminds of ancient Buddhist temples. It is painted red (the color of demons and dragons), yellow (which brings wealth and luck) and green (which symbolizes happiness). All these colors form the basis of the Dungan cultural concept

The peculiarity of this mosque is the way it was constructed: builders did not use any single nail or dowel of metal. Only wooden poplar and karagach beams from the Tien Shan valleys were used. The polish of the mosque was made with nuts. All the building materials needed to be carefully prepared beforehand.

Local builders dug the foundation and did the rough work involving stones, while the rest was taken over by the invited guests. Zhou-Sy or invented ornaments and painted them on wooden planks. Thus his assistants cut out his creations.

The project was divided into several stages, every minor detail was thought through. The building was assembled in parts. It took up to three years to construct some of the parts. The object was finished on May 10th 1910.

The size of the mosque is impressive, especially compared to similar constructions in Central Asia. The mosque is a rectangular shape of 27 by 15 meters. A row of columns support the western and eastern sides of the roof. The western wall is directed towards Mecca and windowless. Worshipers pray in that direction. There are four bearing pillars supported by stone pedestals. From the architectural point of view, the building is quite uncomplicated, even though it seems it is impossible to replicate. The mosque can be disassembled in a day, the beams are not attached, and they are simply put into the special axes of the felling. There are 3 roofs with carved edged gables along the sides. mythical dragons and other animals that play an important role in Chinese culture are carved on the beams. Thirty golden columns hold the roof. The base is blue (result of a renovation in the Soviet era). Images of fruits decorate the cornice.

During the Soviet period, the main building of the mosque was not subjected to major restructuring, thus it retained its beauty. Unfortunately, In the 1930s a minaret that stood apart from the mosque was lost. The current minaret was built in the 1940s.

The signs on the buildings were installed as part of the project "Ideas transforming the city - Karakol".
Objective: Creation of an interactive platform on the basis of Shaarkan in Karakol city to strengthen the social capital of the urban community and tourist attraction of the city.
The Karakol Heritage Initiative was initiated by the MoHE "Leadership" together with the Issyk-Kul regional state archive and the media partner of the radio station "Wave of Issyk-Kul" with the support of the public and donors.
Project objectives:
- To promote the preservation of Karakol's architectural heritage;
- develop an interactive online map showing the historical sites of the city;
- conduct a thematic media campaign to attract the attention of local residents and the development of civic engagement.
Information about the project:

The material was prepared within the framework of the "Karakol Heritage" initiative by the project team
"Ideas transforming the city - Karakol"
with the support of the Youth Development Institute and the Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan.
The content is the responsibility of MBO "Leadership" and does not necessarily reflect the position of IRM and FGC.
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