Ilham Aliyev reviewed progress of restoration and reconstruction at the Shamakhi Juma mosque

13 september 2011, 16:30

President Ilham Aliyev has reviewed progress of restoration and reconstruction at the Shamakhi Juma mosque.

The President was first informed about the landscaping work carried out around the mosque.

The head of state then reviewed a stand showing the plan of the rainwater line in Shamakhi.

It was indicated that the 11,000 linear meters line will have 13 level, 191 manhole and 119 rain hatches. The average depth of the line will be 2.5 meters. Earthwork in the volume of 110,000 cubic meters will be conducted here.

During familiarization with progress of reconstruction at the mosque, the head of state was informed that the Juma mosque, one of the oldest Muslim temples not only in Azerbaijan but also in the entire South Caucasus and the Middle East, 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. The earthquakes of 1859 and 1902 caused serious damage to the Juma mosque. Then, the mosque was restored on a project by Azerbaijan’s first qualified architect, Zivar bey Ahmadbayov, and Polish engineer Joseph Ploshko. During the genocide perpetrated by the Armenians in Shamakhi in March 1918, the biggest massacre took place at the Juma mosque. Taking advantage of the fact that the people of Shamakhi took refuge in the mosque, the house of Allah, the Armenians set fire to it, killing nearly 1,700 innocent people.

It was stressed that the mosque was not used for its intended purpose in Soviet times and was faced with the threat of destruction. But on the initiative and instruction of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev, who treated Azerbaijan’s development in all spheres with great care and attention, including the preservation of our national and spiritual values, this historical site was restored in 1980.

It was noted that on the basis of initiatives and instructions of the President, who always keeps conservation and development of our national and spiritual values in focus, dozens of mosques, temples, historical sites and shrines have been built, restored and renovated in the capital and districts. It was this sacred idea that prompted President Ilham Aliyev to visit the Juma mosque during his earlier visits to Shamakhi and sign the Order “On measures for the restoration of the state historical and architectural site of the Juma mosque in Shamakhi”.

It was noted that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has also carried out a number of important projects in this direction. The work carried out at the Shamakhi Juma mosque as part of the “Tolerance Location: Azerbaijan” project, being implemented on the initiative of the President of the Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, has breathed new life into the monument which is a masterpiece of Azerbaijani and eastern architecture.

The head of state was informed that major overhaul and restoration of the Shamakhi Juma mosque began in March 2010. In accordance with the master plan, the construction of a two-storey office building, an ancillary building, the stairs at the entrance to the mosque and the bridge has been completed. The construction of two 36-meter minarets of the mosque has already been completed. In order to improve the stability of the minarets, the shoring of foundation has been carried out at a depth of 15 meters. Currently, finishing work is under way at the site. The place of worship covers an area of 1,316 square meters. Restoration and reconstruction work at the mosque, which covers an area of about one hectare, is in full swing. The mosque’s dome will be decorated with patterns and motifs in ancient architectural style. Vaulted corridors surrounding the Juma mosque on three sides are also under construction. The mosque will also have a conference room, a library, ablution sites and other facilities. It was noted that since Shamakhi is located in a seismic zone, the foundation of the mosque has been reinforced with concrete structures at a depth of one meter. Under the new project, 4-meter entrance gates with a dome will be built in front of the place of worship. Old cells will also be renovated and extensive landscaping carried out around the mosque.

To perform the restoration and reconstruction of the Juma mosque in a quality manner and in accordance with centuries-old traditions of the national architectural heritage of Azerbaijan, the President has signed an order to allocate funds from the Reserve Fund of the President to the Executive Authority of Shamakhi District. This will contribute further to the reconstruction of the Shamakhi Juma mosque, which is distinguished for its architectural style, antiquity and originality. Thus, the Shamakhi Juma mosque, one of the unique masterpieces of Oriental architecture, will serve as vivid evidence of the care and attention our country has for national and spiritual values.

President Ilham Aliyev reviewed the stand reflecting the post-restoration appearance of the mosque, and gave his recommendations and instructions.