A master from China was specially invited to build the Zharkent mosque. The eastern ornament was used in the design, at one time the mosque was an incomparable architectural object of Central Asia. Zharkent was founded in 1882 during the determination of the south-western border of the Russian Empire and the organization of the county center in this territory. According to the census of 1897, 81,927 people lived in the Zharkent district, the Kazakhs accounted for 13.8%, the Uigurs 52.6%, Dungans 25.8%, Russians, Ukrainians 7.8%. The city was conveniently located on the trade route, which contributed to its rapid development. Merchants opened shops, entrepreneurs – beer factories, tobacco factories, craft shops. In 1887, at a meeting of urban Muslims, it was decided to build a mosque on the money collected by the people. The construction of the mosque was organized by the first guild merchant Vali Akhun Yuldashev. Thanks to his connections, he invites the best master carpenters and experienced architect Hon Pik.
Zharkent mosque was built in the years 1887-1892 for the people’s money with the support of the merchant Yuldashev. The building was built in Zaili-Chinese architectural style, the main examples of traditional architecture of Central Asia and Kazakhstan were also used. The mosque includes: Friday mosque, small mosque, portal – the main entrance, side entrance gates and a stone fence. The skeleton of the building consists of 122 wooden posts that are connected by a system of beams and nozzles. Construction was carried out without any pre-approved drawings. In the construction of the building, previously prepared standard parts were used: columns, intermediate logs, roof tiles, and fencing. When painting them adhered to special rules. An interesting construction of the roof, which consists of wooden elements – beams, brackets called “Dow” and “Gong”, which allow to bend curtain rods, which creates the illusion of “floating roof”.
The eaves of the roof are richly decorated with carved wood. All wooden joints are built by original cutting without nails. In the paintings of the mosque and the tower were used magnificent samples of painting and ornamentation. Among the geometric ornaments and ornaments in the form of plants there are images of animals, birds, fish. The wooden bunk tower is a collection of unique murals, the motifs of which are taken from the surrounding nature – these are flowers, leaves, clouds. Samples of Kazakh, Uygur, Dungan and other Eastern peoples ornamentation are widely represented in the architectural monument; there are even complex decorative panels and epigraphic cartouches – arabesques.
Construction and decoration of the mosque was led by Hon Peak (Mukan) with the participation of local craftsmen – Khasen Imanov, Tahir Ismailov, Nasretdin Kara, Abdukadyr, Ushurbaki, Zaynutdin and others. According to folk legend, the Chinese master Hon Peak was executed upon returning home, for spreading Chinese architectural art to another country without permission. The length of the mosque is 54.5 meters, width – 29 meters, height – 22 meters. The building was completely renovated. Let’s try to consider the complex of the mosque separately.
Chapel. The spacious square hall with an aivan and an adjoining courtyard, covered with a steep gable roof, functionally was a quarterly mosque. Previously, there was a small mihrab niche on the western side. In the postwar years there was a granary in the prayer house. Thanks to the restoration work was returned to the form, close to the original appearance. The fence of the mosque. The fence of the mosque is represented by a characteristic element in the complex of a courtyard-type mosque. The western side, to which the worshipers turned their faces, was made with deaf brickwork with decorative decorations for the basement. Intermediate pillars were decorated with large ceramic parts in the form of balls and volumetric flowers. The fence of the mosque is also recently restored. Madrasah. The building, which is located on both sides of the main gate, consists of 14 rooms and outbuildings. The windows of the building look to the street, and the doors – to the courtyard of the mosque, covered with a low roof. It lost its originality, because for years it was used as a residential building, to the cinema. Thanks to the restoration work, the original appearance was restored. Madrasah is adapted for exposition and working rooms. The fence of the north and south sides is a decorative wooden lattice, put on a brick base. Stylobat restored completely.
The appearance of the Friday mosque is in tune with the surrounding surroundings: wooden columns connected together by a system of beams, also a roof, with the ends of a ramp bent up, repeat the features of Japanese and Chinese architecture, the internal structure is the architectural art of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Its features stand out the main entrance portal. The ideological and artistic role of the portal – giving imagery and grandeur. This is usually achieved by increasing its size compared to other parts of the structure. The height of the portal is 19 meters. The roof structure of the Zharkent mosque is also different. The roof structure consists of wooden beams and brackets called “Dow” and “Gong”. To achieve the curved ends of the slope, a special system was used, thanks to which the form of a “floating roof” was created. The eaves of the roofs are decorated with bright colors, where along with floral ornaments there are images of animals, birds and fish. To give significance, the Friday Mosque and the main entrance were supplemented by a two-story pagoda tower. The minaret is surrounded by 52 pillars, which are painted brown, wrapped in several layers of canvas and finely plastered. The skeleton of the building consists of 122 wooden posts that are connected by a system of beams and nozzles. In 1918 Soviet power was established in Zharkent. Due to changes in the attitude to religion in the first years of Soviet power, many religious institutions, including the Zharkent mosque, were closed. From 1918 to 1948, the building of the mosque was used for different purposes: Friday mosque – military barracks, granary. Madrasah was used as a cinema, apartment. As a result, the building lost its original appearance. In 1948-1949, the Kazakh branch of the USSR Academy of Architecture and Construction in the republican scale carried out work on the study and study of historical and cultural monuments. As a result of which, the Zharkent mosque was recognized as a historical and cultural monument and taken under state protection. Specialists of the republican association “Kazrestavratsiya” in 1967-1978 carried out restoration work. During the restoration, two rules were taken into account: a) restore the original appearance; b) to adapt the building under the museum. During the works, the building of the small mosque was fully restored, the portal was brought to its original form. Newly made: towers, domes, stairs leading to the tower. Zharkent mosque remains one of the historical and cultural places that attract the astonished eyes of domestic and foreign tourists. Choose a rental car, rent for a trip to the Zharkent mosque.