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Pigs In A Mosque


Juma Mosque is located in the historic Icheri Sheher (Old Town) of Baku, Azerbaijan. The cathedral mosque was built in the 12th century. A scientist, Andrey Pavlinov, believed that the Juma Mosque was built on the remains of a temple of fire-worshippers (Zoroastrians).

Present day Juma Mosque

Adobe Stock Photo

A sophisticated design of the mosque shows that it was built in several stages. The most ancient part of the mosque is a square-shaped worship room and its rooms resemble kiosk mosques of the Seljuk period.

In 1309, Amir Sharaf al-Din Mahmud ordered the restoration of this mosque. Later, more architectural changes were made. In 1437, the stalactite-shaped minaret was built to call out the worshipers. The rooms of the Juma Mosque were built in the 15th century for educational purposes.

The present Juma Mosque was later rebuilt in 1899, funded by a millionaire and philanthropist, Haji Shikhlali Dadashov. Beautiful Oriental and European classic motifs have been used in the building's architecture. It is characterized by the typical features of Azerbaijan architecture: stone carvings, national patterns and artistic epigraphs.


Political Conflict

Azerbaijani IDPs in the early 1990s.

Photo by llgar Jafarov. Source: Wikimedia Commons

During the Soviet period, the mosque was turned into a carpet museum while most other mosques were torn down. In the early 1990s, Armenia invaded, occupied and ethnically cleansed neighbouring Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. Almost a million Azerbaijani civilians were expelled from Karabakh and Armenia.

Mosque Turned Into A Barn

The ancient Azerbaijani city of Agdam, once a thriving home to 50,000 Azerbaijanis, was totally obliterated by Armenian troops. The city’s only surviving building was its Juma Mosque, which was intentionally vandalised and converted into a barn for pigs and cattle. Its interior and exterior walls have been desecrated with insults.

The Liberation

In October 2020, following the signing of a ceasefire, the ancient city was liberated. The Juma Mosque held its first Friday prayers in 27 years. Re-establishing plans are underway to restore this historic mosque.

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