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The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.

Individual Mangyshlak tours.

"All the best that is created under the sun,
the hearts remains
in our nights shines
        sleepless..."

Olzhas Suleimenov.

Visiting mosques in Mangistau.

The Sultan-Epe Underground Mosque is located in a mountain folded from a shell rock in the Kaush Range in in the northeastern part of the Tupkaragan peninsula in the Tupkaragan district of the Mangistau region, 4 kilometers from the coast of Mangyshlak Bay.
The underground mosque is located 57 kilometers southeast of the city of Fort Shevchenko, at the western end of the canyon of the same name, on Sarytas Bay. The eponymous necropolis is located northeast of the mosque. Monuments date to new times.
Not far from the necropolis there are several sites of the Stone Age era. Ancient sites testify to the settlement of this wonderful place from antiquity. The building is very interesting, in plan, almost round with dug stones, the upper edges of which collapsed over time.
Most likely, this monument is associated with astronomy or astrology. The mosque is built within the walls of a shallow channel formed by washing and destruction by flood waters of a rock layer up to 2 meters thick, lying on a clay layer, which determine the whole system of Neogene deposits.
The mosque consists of 9 rooms. The entrance to the underground part of the mosque leads from a covered narrow room located in the southwestern part of the canyon. The central gallery leads to almost all rooms, with the exception of one, which is located separately.
An isolated room may have been used as a khelvet. We find an analogy of such a room in the Khoja Ahmet Yasavi complex in the city of Turkestan. The entrance room ends with the likeness of a very steep staircase, made of untreated stone slabs of different sizes.
The height of the stairs reaches 2 meters. The staircase descends into a small hall with a high arch and a light opening. The complex has three light openings, two round in plan and the third square. Galleries are formed from soft marly clay from under a rock formation.
The gallery floor served as a dense layer of reddish clay with crushed stone or the surface of the next rock formation. The thickness of the clay layer is 0.1 - 1 m, which determines the height of the underground galleries.
Structurally, the mosque was built into the channels on the surface of previously settled slabs, while creating the underground part, the ends served as gallery walls. In some places, these walls were supported by masonry to the surface for stability from further subsidence.
The monument to the Sultan-epe underground mosque in 1982 was decided by the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR for state registration and protection of republican significance. In 2003, archaeological research (emergency rescue) was conducted at the monument under the guidance of A. Astafiev and M. Kalmenov.
In 2004, the employees of "Mangistaurestoration", under the leadership of M. Nurkabaev, carried out restoration work. There is a legend about the Sultan-ep mosque. According to legend, once upon a time a father called his sons to him.
Everyone immediately appeared before his father, only the youngest son of Sultan-epe did not come to the call immediately, a few days later. The father was angry at his favorite. Then Sultan-epe told that he was in the distant Caspian, where he helped fishermen in distress, and showed his back, on which there were traces of the rope.
Since then, he always comes to the rescue of those who are in distress at sea. Near the underground mosque is a well with fresh water, from which local shepherds pump water for animals using a pump.

The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.The underground mosque of Sultan-epe.

Authority:
Otynshy Kөshbayұly, Murat Kalmenov. "The underground mosques of Mangistau." Өlketanymdyқ basylym. Almaty, Orkhon Publishing House. 2009.160 s.

Photos
Alexander Petrov.