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Kazakhstan: Zharkent’s wooden mosque

26 Sep

The main entrance to the mosque

The town of Zharkent is the last outpost of any size on the road from Almaty to the Chinese border crossing, Khorgos.  A sleepy backwater in the heart of farming country, Zharkent has one remarkable building – a wooden mosque built in the nineteenth century by a Chinese architect.

The elaborate, Chinese-style decoration of the mosque

The mosque was constructed without the use of nails and has withstood earthquakes and the attentions of the Soviets. The mosque has a gateway reminiscent of the deliacte structures that adorn religious buildings in Kashgar and other parts of Central Asia.

The mosque's central tower with Russian-influenced windows

Inside the courtyard, the mosque itself is a riot of colour with the Chinese influence of architect Hon Pik allowed to run wild. The windows add a Russian-feel. All-in-all it’s a stunning fusion of Central Asian, Chinese and Russian influences.

Night falls on the mosque

Kazakhstan: On the road to China

22 Sep

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Kazaxia received these great images from the Kazakhstan-China border post of Khorgos, along with some shots of the pot-holed road to China, which is Kazakhstan’s main gateway to the east.

Kazakhstan and China are developing a free trade zone on their border crossing at Khorgos, although the project appears to have stalled for the time being.

As the pictures of the lorry and cafe show, there’s still a lot of work to be done on upgrading the road and providing modern service stations.