A delegation of international experts conducting investigation into intercultural and interreligion dialogue and tolerance has visited the Shamakhi Juma Mosque.
The delegation was informed the mosque was one of the oldest Muslim temples on the territory of Azerbaijan, in the South Caucasus and in the Middle East as a whole. It was built at the time of Caliph Khalid Ibn Valiyad in 743 in honor of the arrival of his brother, Muslim ibn Valiyad, in Azerbaijan. According to some sources, defeated by the armies of the Caliphate, Khazar Khan adopted Islam at this very mosque. The devastating earthquake that hit the Shamakhi province, one of the largest provinces in the Caucasus, in 1859 wiped the city off the face of the earth.
Following the earthquake, the administrative center of the province was moved to Baku. The restoration of the mosque in the aftermath of the calamity was entrusted to the native of Shamakhi, Gasim Bay Hajibababayov. The earthquake of 1902 could not destroy the mosque, as it managed to withstand the elements. Then the decision was made to restore the mosque on a previous foundation. Initially, the restoration work was supervised by architect Zivarbay Ahmadbayov and then by the Polish engineer and architect, Joseph Ploshko. The restoration work carried out in accordance with the original design of Ploshko was not completed. But even the unfinished mosque retained its grandeur.
During the massacre unleashed by the armed groups of Armenian Dashnaks in March 1918, an
act of genocide was committed in Shamakhi. The bloodiest massacre occurred at the Juma Mosque. On seeing that the people of Shamakhi had taken refuge in the mosque, the house of Allah, the Armenians set fire to it and killed 1,700 innocent people. In Soviet times, the mosque was not used for the intended purpose for obvious reasons and was faced with the threat of destruction. But at the initiative and on the instruction of great leader Heydar Aliyev, who was very attentive to the development of all spheres of life in Azerbaijan, including the preservation of national and spiritual values, this historic building was renovated in 1980.
The experts were told that the major overhaul and reconstruction of the Shamakhi Juma Mosque, carried out as part of the “Tolerance Location: Azerbaijan” project of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, have always been at the center of attention of the President of Azerbaijan. During a trip to Shamakhi in November 2009, President Ilham Aliyev visited the Juma Mosque and signed a decision on the restoration of the monument, which has great historical value and holds a special place in the spiritual world of the Azerbaijani people. Following the orders signed by the President of Azerbaijan in December 2009 and February 2013, funds were allocated for this purpose. Then the major overhaul and reconstruction of the mosque, a fine example of architecture of the capital of the state Shirvanshahs, commenced. The reconstruction of the mosque had started in March 2010. Along with the reconstruction of the mosque proper, the old cells located around the "Shamakhi Juma Mosque" state historical and architectural monument have been restored and the area extensively landscaped.
The delegation was also informed about the model of tolerance of Azerbaijan. /AzerTAg/