The Hazrat-Hyzr Mosque
The Hazrat-Hyzr mosque is located on a hill almost opposite the Kusam ibn Abbas mazar (graveyard) in Tashkent Street. The building was constructed in 1823 and according to one vakuf document (document of endowment) it was integrated with Kusam ibn Abbas mazar into one complex. Both constructions were once connected by a lane. The building of the mosque was constructed in accordance with the so-called “ayvan type” architecture which was widespread in the 18th century. In 1854 hujras (cells) and a small east minaret were built on to earlier constructed premises. The walls of the mosque are decorated with polychromatic stucco fretwork. Openwork carving with the use of the «chaspak» technique adorns the dome of the mosque. This building, which in no way looks like Samarkand’s most ancient construction, has an old and remarkable history.
From time immemorial, close to the hill there was a city gate and the Argiz aqueduct that supplied the city with water. Here, as far back as the pre-Islamic epoch, there existed the shrine of the holy elder Hyzr – a protector of the wanderers. He granted the wishes of the worthy people and bestowed good harvest and fertility on them. Right here there was a well with life-giving water, that very well where, according to the legend, Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed, hid himself from people. All that can be referred to legends and folk sagas; however historical written documents as well as archeological researches prove that Samarkand’s first mosque – “the location of Moslem banners” - was built in this very place in the 11th century. It was destroyed during the invasion of Genghiz-khan in 1220, but the place has always been esteemed as holy place and in the 19th century a new mosque was erected on the ancient foundation. The mosque got the name Hazrat-Hyzr.