Sunday, September 22, 2019

Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2019-07-18 20:23:18 BdST

Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world's oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.

The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.

A mosque is seen in the background, as archaeology workers stand beneath a shade near the remains of a mosque (R), discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which they say is one of the world's oldest, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

A mosque is seen in the background, as archaeology workers stand beneath a shade near the remains of a mosque (R), discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which they say is one of the world's oldest, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Mecca but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.

An archaeologist gestures as he stands inside the remains of a mosque discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and which they say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

An archaeologist gestures as he stands inside the remains of a mosque discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and which they say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque -- a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south towards Mecca.

An archaeologist from the Israel Antiquities Authority shows off one of the findings discovered at the site where the remains of a mosque was uncovered and which the authority say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

An archaeologist from the Israel Antiquities Authority shows off one of the findings discovered at the site where the remains of a mosque was uncovered and which the authority say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. Reuters

"This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.," said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.

"The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period."