It’s the Thought that Counts

Zakāt, or giving alms, is an important part of of many religions and cultures and is frequently left on tombs of historic figures throughout Central Asia. 200 Uzbek Som (UZS), the 3rd largest bill of the state, is worth about $0.07 USD at 2850 UZS to the dollar (black market rate). One hopes their prayersContinue reading “It’s the Thought that Counts”

The Pious Payout

When Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedovmade completed his first Hajj, it was the perfect time for citizens of Mary to ask him for the funds needed to finish the building of Mary’s mosque. The money was awarded and the inauguration of the Hajj Gurbanguly Mosque commenced two years later. The President proclaimed its’ opening was “evidenceContinue reading “The Pious Payout”

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque, said to be patterned after the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, sits at the end of a grand boulevard of parks that are almost as empty as the mosque itself. Large enough to hold 5,000 worshipers, it sees only a small fraction of that since it’s ‘unlucky’ or ‘haunted’ due to aContinue reading “The Sincerest Form of Flattery”

Pendulum of Reflection

Most Persian-style mosques are famed for their ornate surfaces and the interior of the Krezrety Omar mosque in Ashgabat certainly lives up to that rich history. What really catches the eye though is the unusual chandelier underneath the central dome. Oscillating, mesmerizing, and constantly reminding the faithful that the sumptuous surroundings are a mear diversionContinue reading “Pendulum of Reflection”

Xian: The Gateway to the Silk Road

One of the best ways to see history in person is by visiting the  cities along the Ancient Silk Road.  Religion was the driving force behind many of history’s greatest battles, and the force which leaders used to expand their empires.  The faces numerous cities and villages  reflect the styles,  ideals and philosophies of the dominantContinue reading “Xian: The Gateway to the Silk Road”

A Far-Flung Silk Road connection – the Great Mosque of St. Petersburg Russia

St. Petersburg’s skyline says it all. From the banks of the Volga the views include the golden cathedral towers of the Peter and Paul Fortress and the pointed towering Minerats and bright blue tiles of the mosque dome just to the right of it. Peter the Great wanted his capital to reflect the cultural makeContinue reading “A Far-Flung Silk Road connection – the Great Mosque of St. Petersburg Russia”

Pictures of Shiraz: First visit to the Vakil Mosque

The first visit to the Valik Mosque located or attached to the Valik Bazaar. The mosque, built between 1751 and 1773, is the best example of architecture constructed during the Zand Dynasty when Shiraz was the capital of Persia. It has withstood many earthquakes and invasions. The mosque is now a registered historical site andContinue reading “Pictures of Shiraz: First visit to the Vakil Mosque”