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House for the elite: Rumors and facts about the legendary Stalinist high-rise - the house at Kotelnicheskaya
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Miracle in the desert of Afghanistan

There are many architectural masterpieces on the planet, and mosques in this list occupy a special place. One of the most magnificent pearls of Eastern architecture is the Blue Mosque, located in the center of the Afghan province (vilayat) Balkh. An incredibly beautiful building, almost completely covered with turquoise tiles, catches the eye and makes you wonder how great the talent of architects and artists who worked on this miracle is.

The modern blue mosque is essentially the “reincarnation” of the old mosque, which was destroyed in about 1220 by Genghis Khan. The Muslim shrine was restored by Sultan Ahmed Sanjar from the Seljuk dynasty. Then, in the 15th century, Sultan Hussein Mirza Baikar rebuilt the building, or rather, built a new one – bigger and broader.

The location plan of the Islamic shrine, made in the 1910s, shows that the mosque had previously occupied a smaller area, and only later a park appeared here. Over the years, tombs of various sizes were built on the territory of the mosque for a number of Afghan political and religious leaders, which led to the fact that the building is now not as proportionate as before. In general, there is not much left of the original ancient mosque, but it is in a renewed form that this masterpiece building was recognized as the most beautiful mosque in Afghanistan.

Ancient Shiite traditions
According to the generally accepted opinion, it was in this place that the righteous Caliph Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, who was killed by traitors-conspirators, was once buried.

Afghan historians claim that Ali was originally buried near Baghdad, but immediately after the burial of his followers took the body to hide. They were afraid that Ali’s enemies would not calm down even after his death and would desecrate the remains. The body was transported on a camel, but he, unable to withstand a long, exhausting hike, eventually fell. It is believed that on the very site of the deceased and was buried, because of what the tomb and the mosque built later were called “Mazar-i-Sharif” (literally – “Tomb of the Holy”). So is the city.

During the raid on these lands of Genghis Khan’s troops, the grave had to be covered with earth so that its enemies would not notice. Well, according to legend, they were discovered by peasants of a local village. Plowing the ground, they stumbled upon a stone tomb. Inside lay the Koran, the famous sword of Ali, as well as his dead body, which did not undergo decomposition, which later was considered a sign of holiness.

Interestingly, the Persians and Arabs do not support this hypothesis and believe that Ali was not killed here at all, but in Mesopotamia, according to their version, his grave is located in Najaf (Iraq).

There is no other such
Among the most revered burials of the mosque are, above all, the square domed tomb-mausoleum of Amir Dosth Mohammed, Wazir Akbar Khan and a similar structure for Amir Sher Ali and his family.

Located in the courtyard of the mosque, the mausoleum of Hazrat Ali is fantastically beautiful! It is covered with a carpet of tiles with a very bizarre pattern.

A distinctive feature of the Blue Mosque is that even non-believers can enter it – however, for a fee. But visiting the tomb of Ali is forbidden to representatives of other faiths.

Externally, the mosque looks just amazing: two bright blue domes are very well combined with a tiled coating of all shades of blue. On this blue-turquoise-blue “carpet” yellow and red accents harmoniously look, and the ornament is so intricate.

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