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Underground mosque Masat ata.

Sightseeing trip on Mangystau.

“At that time I performed the remembrance of the name of the Most High 1001 times.
I turned my face to Allah, I put an end to my claims.
Having given me a date, he stroked my head and became my guardian"

Hikmets of Khoja Ahmed Yasavi.

Flashpacker Mangistau.

The underground mosque Masat ata is located in the southwestern part of the necropolis of the same name, in the northern part of the Mangyshlak plateau, 8 kilometers northwest of the eastern edge of the Sauskan sands, 19.6 kilometers southeast of the village of Ushtagan, 17.3 kilometers south-west of the village of Sazdy in the Mangistau district of the Mangistau region.
This famous place is found in historical sources about Mangystau. The underground mosque is located at the steep slope of the hill, it belongs to the most ancient period of the necropolis development. The necropolis contains about 1000 burials of different times and types.
Ancient monuments date back to the XIV - XV centuries. The mosque, in comparison with other similar monuments, has been very well preserved to this day, traces of natural weathering are almost invisible. The mosque is carved into dense sandstone.
The interior of the mosque has the shape of a yurt vault. Above, almost in the center, there is a light opening, round in plan. The opening from the outside is raised with stonework. The idea of ​​the dome and its initial implementation, according to A. Bernshtam, belonged to the equestrian nomads of the Asian steppe.
On Mangistau, it received an almost literal embodiment, up to the imitation of a round hole in the center of the vault of the yurt (shanyrak) by including a round opening of the sunbeam in the center of the ceiling. In many of the described monuments, we find such a constructive solution.
The mosque is located next to two wells that are currently abandoned. The entrance is located in the southern part, a mihrab is carved to the left of the entrance. Mihrab faces towards Mecca. 3-4 meters west of the mosque there is an artificial hole with a diameter of about 2.5 meters, possibly an unfinished room.
In the courtyard there are gutters in the form of lines, carved into the terrace. They are several meters long. The edge of the lines leads to a catchment well, the water may have been used for domestic purposes. There are many folk legends about Masat ata.
One of the folk legends speaks of the ability of Masat-ata to fly. Another tells about a legend when Masat ata performed namaz, while the enemy caught him by surprise, sneaking up and chopped off his head. Nature, indignant at this insidious act, reacted by the fact that the earth began to melt, despite the fact that Masat ata was headless, he got up and took several steps along the molten stones, on which his footprints and the tracks of his horse were imprinted.
And now you can see these traces. Where they end, there is an underground mosque, carved into the rock, with a door facing south. In front of the mosque there is a flat stone in which a gutter several meters long is carved, which joins with a dug well.
According to one of the legends, Masat ata came to Mangistau from Khorasan, more precisely from the city of Mashhad (modern Iran), to preach Islam, perhaps Masat comes from the name of the city of Mashhad.
The time when Masat ata came, Kalmyks raged on Mangystau. They did not give rest to the Kazakhs, then they drove away cattle, then they seized their pastures. Then he announced a gazavat against the Kalmyks. Masat ata was a brave and courageous warrior.
Enemies could not capture or kill Masat ata for a long time. Once they went for a trick, through the wife of Masat ata, they learned that during the prayer, his strength runs out, all the stones around him melt, and he becomes almost powerless.
And so, once during the prayer, the Kalmyks cut off the head of Masat ata, then he grabbed the head that fell on the smear with his hand, jumped on his horse and disappeared. Therefore, the burial place of Masat ata does not exist.
You can see the tracks of him and the tracks of his horse today. In this matter, we do not want to scientifically prove that these are the same traces or not, but the fact is that they still exist. To the west of the mosque, a few meters away, there are indeed very realistic footprints of a person and a horse's hoof.
But the question arises as to how the marks remained on the stone. here we we must not forget about the higher forces of nature, which are sometimes not comprehensible to the human mind. The monument in 1982 by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR was accepted for state registration and protection of republican significance.
Geographic coordinates of the underground mosque Masat ata: N43 ° 41'35.78 "E52 ° 52'55.92"

Otynshy Koshbayuly, Murat Kalmenov. "Underground mosques of Mangystau". Lketanymdyқ basely. Almaty, Orkhon Publishing House. 2009.160 s.

Photos by
Murata Kalmenova, the town of Uralsk.