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World

World's oldest mosque found in Northern Israel

  • A team of archaeologists uncovered the oldest mosque in the world, in the region of Tiberias in Northern Israel.
  • The Al-Juma Mosque (or Friday Mosque) is in the South of Tiberias, at the foot of Mount Berenice.
Updated 21 Jan 2021
Vestiges of the mosque.Credit: Rafael Langier Goncalves
Vestiges of the mosque.Credit: Rafael Langier Goncalves

A team of archaeologists uncovered the oldest mosque in the world, in the region of Tiberias in Northern Israel.

Katia Cytryn-Silverman of the Hebrew University, who is overseeing the dig, mentioned that this is the oldest mosque in the world that can be excavated.

The Al-Juma Mosque (or Friday Mosque) is in the South of Tiberias, at the foot of Mount Berenice, as prior to Cytryn-Silverman excavating there 11 years ago, scholars believed that the structure at the center of the site was a marketplace from the Byzantine period.

It was discovered that it was a mosque from the eighth century in the early Islamic period.

Findings in recent years have shown that under this structure is an even older mosque, dating back to the seventh century.

Cytryn-Silverman noted that there are not many chances to excavate ancient mosques because, in most cases, other mosques were later built on top of them, and any excavation could compromise the entire structure.

Before the identification of the mosque in Tiberias, the oldest mosque to be excavated was the one in Wasit, Iraq, which was built in 703.

Tiberias was a very important city in Islamic history, as after the Arab conquest, it became the capital of Jund al-Urdunn, the military district of Jordan, in the early Islamic period - being a political and economic center.