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Beket-ata mosque.

Тhе mosque has been redecorated  on the occasion of Beket Ata's 250th birthday. Roads were built, outdoor facilities such as toilets put up as well as а guest house to harbour travellers.
This underground mosque is located at Oglandy, 55 km east of Shopan-ata, between the northwestern tip of the Mangystau mountains and the western edge of the Ustyurt Plateau. It is built into the slopes of a limestone and chalk cliff hanging 100 metres above a depression, together with a cemetery with tombs dating from the X to XIX centuries.
The date of the first building of the underground complex has not yet been determined. Access to the cave is by a staircase along the cliff, and the underground architectural plan consists of seven rooms.
The mosque, vaulted with concave walls, is also built with architectural features similar to the shape of a yurt. The huge tomb of the saint is located outside to the right of the entrance. The pilgrims' dormitories are situated on the top of the hill and, nearby, there is a small museum displaying artefacts related to the Sufi master, including his brother's fur hat and a whip.
The site has been recently restored and the brick wall supporting the platform of the entrance has been rebuilt in its original shape.
The mullah of the Mosque claims to be a descendant of Beket-Ata. The underground Beket-Ata mosque holds a special position in the Muslim world. Beket-Ata is located 320 kilometres east of Aktau, 200 kilometres of which is on a tarmac road (to the village of Senek), and thereafter on a very bad sand and clay track.
Ignore this rule and a pilgrim will not be able to find Beket-Ata, and even if he does manage to locate it, his visit will be in vain. There seven rooms of the mosque have excellent acoustics.
Beket-Ata was buried near this mosque. The Beket-Ata necropolis is a spiritual, his­torical and architectural monument. Saint Beket-Ata trod many roads till he returned to Mangystau. He healed people: the sick and afflicted came to him, and he restored their health and gave them a new lease on life.
This is a sacred place, as significant as the graves of Mohammed and Khodzha Akhmed Yassaui. All year round pilgrims come here to open their souls. They say that just mentioning the name of Beket-Ata in the conversation can take away the grief and the prayer in the mosque can work wonders.
Beket-Ata was born in 1750. He became famous as a clairvoyant, curer, as a man who knew the laws of physics, Maths, and astronomy. He was an educated person. He took Pir’s classes in Bukhara.
After his studies he returned, constructed five mosques including three underground mosques in Manghystau. When he became a Sufi he founded a school at the underground mosque in Oglandy.
Later this mosque became a scientific centre, an observatory under the open sky. Having appreciated his contribution into the sophistic science, Beket-Ata was elected by Sufis and Pir and he received an honourable stick.
Beket-Ata died when he was 63 and he is buried in the underground mosque in Oglandy area in Manghystau. The pilgrims come here for already two centuries in order to pray to the spirit of the saint and to find peace and luck in their lives.
He found wise solutions to various problems and reconciled arguing parties. In his sermons, Beket-Ata urged people to live their life righteously, to be fair and do the good. This wise and sacred man remains in the memory of people also as a warrior, who bravely fought against the Kalmyks.
He posed heroic strength and courage, just like his great­ grandfather, Yesset batyr. The number of pilgrims to the Beket-Ata mosque has not subsided over the past two centuries. They flock here, seek­ing solace, success in their lives, or to bow to the spirit ofthe saint.  
According to the popular belief, Sufi Beket-Ata does not leave people in trouble, those who seek his help. The road to Beket-Ata passes through the Shopan-Ata tomb. Till his last breath, Beket-Ata worshiped his Teacher and was very glad when his visitors stopped at the Shopan-Ata tomb.
Even today, it is an un­written rule and tradition for believers to visit the Shopan-Ata grave on the way to Beket-Ata.

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Authority:
The guidebook across Kazakhstan. The edition of the ministry of tourism and sports. The guidebook across Kazakhstan . Authors Dagmar Schreiber and Jeremy Tredinnick.   Publishing house "Odyssey".2010.

Alexander Petrov
photos.