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One of Earliest-Known Mosques Uncovered in Rahat in Israel’s Negev
Aerial view of the seventh-century mosque near Rahat in Israel's Negev. (Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority)

One of Earliest-Known Mosques Uncovered in Rahat in Israel’s Negev

One of the earliest known mosques in the world was uncovered in the Bedouin city of Rahat, in Israel’s Negev Desert. The rural mosque, and a fortified estate, were discovered during large-scale archeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority ahead of construction of a new Bedouin neighborhood in Rahat. The excavations show the gradual transition from Christianity to Islam that took place in the seventh to ninth centuries CE. The mosque, estimated to be more than 1,200 years old, is the second to be found in the area. It is located about two kilometers from another seventh-century rural mosque that was excavated in 2019. The excavations, directed by Oren Shmueli, Dr. Elena Kogan-Zehavi, and Dr. Noe David Michael on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, revealed buildings with Christian and Early Islamic characteristics in close proximity to one another. The archeologists uncovered a farmhouse of the Byzantine period that apparently housed Christian farmers and included a fortified tower and rooms with strong walls surrounding a courtyard. On a nearby hilltop, they found estates constructed in a completely different manner, that were built about 100 years later, apparently by Muslims during the early Islamic period.

Give the Gift of Truth This Jewish New Year

The Media Line has been leading for more than twenty years in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. please help us with your generous contributions.
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