Synyk-Kala Mosque, Baku
The most ancient building not only in “Icheri-Sheher” but in the entire Azerbaijan is Mohammed Mosque (named after architect Mohammed Abu-Bakr) also known as Synyk-Kala. The monument’s age is confirmed by the inscription in Arab characters engraved on the stone slab placed beside the mosque entrance (1078— 1079 AD or the year of 471 by Hidzhra). The Mosque got its name “Synyk-Kala” in the 18 th century when in 1723 Baku was conquered by the armies of Peter I. The city was heavily bombarded by shipborne cannons. One cannon-ball destroyed the upper part of Mohammad Mosque minaret but the structure itself survived. As result the people gave the mosque a name Synyk-Kala which means “ Destroyed Tower ”. The half-destroyed minaret still towers over the mosque as if reaching for the sky. That is what makes Synyk-Kala so different from other “Icheri-Sheher” mosques. Today the tours around the mosque are allowed. However, according to Muslim laws only men can get access there. Like every other mosque in “Icheri-Sheher” it has a low vaulted arch so that everyone entering inside bowed his head in front of the Most High. The mosque is made of two tiers. The structural feature is in the mihrab’s half-cylindrical shape and its protrudence from the wall’s outer line. The mosque’s interior is lit by natural light penetrating through the only colored stained-glass window and a few dim lamps from inside.