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Islamic Archaeology

Islamic archaeology involves the recovery & investigation of the material remains of past cultures, that can illuminate the periods & descriptions in the Qur’an, & early Islam. Here are 25 heritage & archaeological sites, connected with Islamic art & architecture…

Uch Sharif, Pakistan Founded by Alexander the Great Uch was a centre of political & cultural activities. It is home to myriad of mosques and shrines. The most popular are those of Bibi Jawindi, Baha’al-Halim & Jalaluddin Bukhari – & are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Samarra Archaeological City, Iraq A powerful Islamic capital city that ruled over the provinces of the Abbasid Empire - from Tunisia to Central Asia for a century. The 9th-century Great Mosque & its spiral minaret are among the remarkable architectural monuments of the site.

Selimiye Mosque & its Social Complex, Turkey Sinan, the most famous Ottoman architect in the 16th century, believed the complex was his best work. It is considered the most harmonious expression achieved of the Ottoman külliye, a group of buildings constructed around a mosque.

Minaret & Archaeological Remains of Jam, Afghanistan The 65m-tall Minaret of Jam dates to the 12th century. Covered in elaborate brickwork with a blue tile inscription it is noteworthy for the quality of its architecture & decoration reflecting the regional artistic tradition.

Old City of Sana'a, Yemen Situated in a mountain valley the city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the 7th & 8th centuries it became a major centre for the propagation of Islam. This heritage can be seen in the architecture built before 11th century.

The Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo, Egypt, 879 One of the oldest mosques in Egypt as well as the whole of Africa surviving in its full original form & is the largest mosque in Cairo. It features ancient architecture styles of Egypt, being created from carved stucco and wood.

The Great Mosque of Xi'an, China The oldest Mosque in China, it was built in 742. Unlike the Mosques around the world with domes and minarets, this Mosque is built in a Chinese pagoda architectural style. There are also Arabic inscriptions within the Mosque.

Al-Zaytuna Mosque, Tunisia Also known as Ez-Zitouna Mosque, and El-Zituna Mosque, is a major mosque at the center of the Medina of Tunis. The mosque is the oldest in Tunis, built in the 8th century & covers an area of 5,000 square metres with nine entrances.

Shopan ata Underground Mosque, Mangystau, Kazakhstan Carved inside a limestone hill, it became a mosque in the 10th century. Shopan ata is famous for his miraculous actions that happened during his life & after death, which attracts many pilgrims to to visit his necropolis.

Anjar, Lebanon The city of Anjar was founded by Caliph Walid I at the beginning of the 8th century. The ruins reveal a very regular layout, reminiscent of the palace-cities of ancient times, and are a unique testimony to city planning under the Umayyads.

Historic Cairo, Egypt Tucked away amid the modern u