A ruined 15th century mosque outside of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Southeast of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, is the location of the medieval city of Anau. Once a major regional population centre, after suffering destruction in multiple earthquakes, a sacking by the Mongols, and neglect by Russian Imperial (and Soviet) authorities in favor of neighboring Ashgabat. Nevertheless, amidst fields of wheat and cotton lined with fruit orchards, is a barren hill. This hill is former foundations of of the Anau Citadel, and on it stands a shattered hulk of ruin, all that remains of the Seyit Jemaleddin Mosque.
Built in the 15th century, the Seyit Jemaleddin Mosque houses two unknown tombs. Although the identity of these personages is now lost to history – some speculate the name of the mosque may derive from the name of an individual – they were undoubtedly important and well respected. For centuries, pilgrims have visited this holy site, circling the tombs and praying at these nameless tombs.
The 1948 Ashgabat Earthquake irreparably damaged the mosque, but still is an important location for the faithful. A small, new mosque was built nearby at the base of the hill for pilgrims. Nearby a centre provides free meals to those in need.
'Turn Back the Clock Thursday' brings you views from more than two decades of Koryo Tours' trips.