About Sights – 19th Century Mosques in Ajara

Ajara (Georgian: აჭარა) is an autonomous republic of Georgia located in the southwestern corner of the country, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea. According to 2006 estimates by the Department of Statistics of Ajara, 30% of Ajara’s population are Muslim.

Islam spread to Ajara as a consequence of the Ottoman Empire’s occupation from 1552. Initially slow to spread, Islam gathered momentum during the 18th century, when believers began to establish mosques in the region.  An especially intense period of building mosques took place throughout Ajara in the 19th century and a number of these survive today.

Makhuntseti Mosque in the village of Qveda Makhuntseti in Keda District, Ajara

Makhuntseti Mosque in the village of Qveda Makhuntseti in Keda District, Ajara

Uchkhiti Mosque in the village of Uchkhiti in Keda District, Ajara

Uchkhiti Mosque in the village of Uchkhiti in Keda District, Ajara

Uchkhiti Mosque in the village of Uchkhiti in Keda District, Ajara

Uchkhiti Mosque in the village of Uchkhiti in Keda District, Ajara

Gegelidzeebi Mosque in the village of Gegelidzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gegelidzeebi Mosque in the village of Gegelidzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gegelidzeebi Mosque in the village of Gegelidzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gegelidzeebi Mosque in the village of Gegelidzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Kokotauri Mosque in the village of Kokotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Kokotauri Mosque in the village of Kokotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Kokotauri Mosque in the village of Kokotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Kokotauri Mosque in the village of Kokotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Chinkadzeebi Mosque in the village of Chinkadzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Chinkadzeebi Mosque in the village of Chinkadzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Chinkadzeebi Mosque in the village of Chinkadzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Chinkadzeebi Mosque in the village of Chinkadzeebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gulebi Mosque in the village of Gulebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gulebi Mosque in the village of Gulebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gulebi Mosque in the village of Gulebi in Keda District, Ajara

Gulebi Mosque in the village of Gulebi in Keda District, Ajara

Kolotauri Mosque in the village of Kolotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Kolotauri Mosque in the village of Kolotauri in Keda District, Ajara

Didachara Mosque in the village of Didachara in Khulo District, Ajara

Didachara Mosque in the village of Didachara in Khulo District, Ajara

Khala Mosque in the village of Khala in Kobuleti District, Ajara

Khala Mosque in the village of Khala in Kobuleti District, Ajara

During Soviet rule, an anti-religious campaign in the 1930s forced the closure of mosques and other spiritual institutions. The minarets of mosques were demolished and religious buildings converted to serve an economic or social purpose. It wasn’t until the 1980s that religious life across a variety of faiths in Ajara and throughout Georgia was revived.

Photos courtesy of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency of Ajara.

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