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Crimea’s oldest mosque takes its name from the Mongol ruler of the Golden Horn Özbek Khan (1313–1341), a Muslim convert who suppressed Shamanism and Buddhism in the Golden Horde. Eski Kırım, or Solhat, as it was known, was the capital of his Crimean province, the Crimean Yurt.
The mosque, which stands in a pleasant garden, surrounded by orchards, was founded by Abdülaziz ibn İbrahim el Arbeli in 1314. The carved wooden door and stone murkanas surround of the monumental portal and the three-aisled interior are typically Anatolian Seljuk/Beylik in style. Details in the stone carving have been compared to the Menteşeoğlu İlyas Bey Mosque in Balat, near Miletus, on the Turkish Aegean coast.
Behind the mosque stand the ruins of a medrese built 18 years later, according to the 17th-century Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi, by İnci Hatun, daughter of the governor Kilburun Bey, in 1332. A kuran dating from the time of Osman was preserved in the mosque until it was removed to St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution. The mosque began to be used again in 1990. For more information in Turkish, www.vatankirim.net
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