The mosque found in Rahat is more than 1,200 years old; one archaeologist thinks she has uncovered the secret of the Byzantine mansion
Three years after finding one of the world’s earliest rural mosques in southern Israel, archaeologists have found a second one in the same town.
Both mosques were discovered during different stages of salvation excavations in the Bedouin town of Rahat, in the northern Negev, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The two mosques are both approximately 1,200 years old, though precise dating is challenging under the circumstances – and the newly unearthed one was built a few hundred meters from the ruins of a strangely magnificent mansion that had apparently belonged to wealthy Byzantine Christians.
The newly found mosque is classic in structure, including a square room and a wall facing the “sacred” direction of the Kaaba in the holy city of Mecca. The structure also contains a niche shaped in a half-circle, called a mihrab, located along the center of the wall and also pointing southward toward Mecca.