Palestine

1,200-year-old mosque uncovered in Palestinian village

Archaeologists on Wednesday unveiled an ancient mosque in Palestine’s south that antiquities officials said sheds light on the region’s transition from Christianity to Islam.

The remains of the mosque, believed to be more than 1,200 years old, were discovered during works to build a new neighborhood in the Palestinian Bedouin city of Rahat.

The mosque located in the Naqab Desert contains “a square room and a wall facing the direction of Mecca”, with a half-circle niche in that wall pointing to the south.

The unique architectural features show that the building was used as a mosque.

Three years ago, archaeologists unearthed another mosque nearby from the same era of the seventh to eighth century AD, calling the two Islamic places of worship “among the earliest known worldwide”.

The mosques, estate and other homes found nearby illuminate “the historical process that took place in the northern Naqab with the introduction of a new religion — the religion of Islam.

“These were gradually established, inheriting the earlier Byzantine government and Christian religion that held sway over the land for hundreds of years.”

The Muslim conquest of the region occurred in the first half of the seventh century.

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