Shivta Mosque

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The "Shivta Mosque" is an early Islamic masjid in the ancient city of Shivta in Negev. The mosque dates back to the early seventh century CE.

Overview

A prayer niche - Mihrab - is directed according towards the Islam Holy cities of Mecca. The niche is is embedded on the south wall, adjacent to the baptistery. Evidence of the Muslim presence during the seventh to the ninth century CE is seen in this small hall situated on the north side of the Southern Church. Evidence of the Muslim presence during the seventh to the ninth century CE is seen in this small hall situated on the north side of the Southern Church.

Architecture

circa 700 CE

The prayer room was roofed with the help of four stone columns, and incorporated in the eastern and western walls are stone pillars bearing inscriptions in Arabic dating back to the ninth century CE.

The northern section of the mosque was in the shape of an irregular trapezoid (approx. 4.3 x 5.2 meters), and was probably used as an open courtyard. This courtyard was a bit raised from the street level which connected to it on the western side and could be reached by climbing four steep steps. In the center of the courtyard was a cistern with a square aperture. Some of the stones used to construct the stairs are most from other structures in the area since they are decorated with carvings.

When the mosque was constructed, between the town's main cistern on the west and its residential neighbourhood on the east, it seems to have blocked an urban street that led from the eastern residential quarter to the southern church.

Unlike the mosque at Nahal La'ana farmstead where the mihrab was added to an existing chamber, the structure at Shivta was specifically built as a mosque.

See Also

References

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