Mosque Jamal al-Din in Anau. The world's only mosque with a dragon on the main facade. Before 1948 - Ashgabat earthquake

Seyitjemaletdin mosque

A mosque in Anau that was erected, according to the interior and exterior inscriptions, in 1456, when Abu-l-Kasim Baber Bahadurkhan ruled in Khorasan (1446-1457). Construction of the mosque was financed by Bahadurkhan’s vizier, Muhammed Hudaidot, who also selected a site of construction–near the grave of his father, sheikh Jemaleddin, a native of Anau. Before that, sheikh Jemaleddin had never been mentioned in the fifteenth-century Sufi sources. But, having examined the inscriptions on the face of the mosque, academician G.A. Pugachenkova proposed that thanks to the polysemantic character of the language the author of the lines managed to immortalize his father. He took the first part of his father’s name–“Jemal” (i.e. beauty)–and used it in the word combination “Dor-ul-Jamal,” which has two meanings: “the house of beauty” and “the abode of Jemal.” Conceived as a large religious complex, this mosque comprised ziaratkhna (a room for funeral prayers), khanaka (a winter room of the mosque) and several khujras (cells in the madrasah, caravanserai and khanaka). The peculiarity of the building’s composition–asymmetrical left and right wings; vaulted domes, different from one another; spatial lightness of the interior–might be accounted for by its positioning on the descending land surface, next to the former fortress. The square central hall (with the sides of 10.5 meters) was crowned with a dome. In the corners of the mosque there were spiral stairs, heading to the second- and third-level bypass galleries. From the north, the hall had a large vaulted arch, which was embellished with a high and beautiful portal, refined with decoratively cut and polished brick, glazed dark- and light-blue tiles, and panels with the Arabian epigraphy on them. Below the arch there was a mosaic picture of two coiling dragons, heraldically facing each other, and apple tree flowers on the background–ancient local composition and scene. In later periods, the Seyit-Jemaleddin mosque was partially reconstructed. By the nineteenth century, the subsidence of land had already damaged the building heavily, and during the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake it was destroyed completely. Now, only lower parts of the portal and some fragments of the walls are extant.

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