The Dungan mosque in Karakol in northeastern Kyrgyzstan. Dungan is a term used during the 19th century and the Soviet era to refer to Muslim people of Chinese origin.
Groups of Dungans arrived in Central Asia in several waves after uprisings against the Chinese empire and because of harsh economic conditions. This mosque is a remarkable building constructed without nails in 1910. In the Stalin era, many mosques were destroyed as the Soviet government sought to suppress Islam in the region. Maybe this one escaped the bureaucrats’ ire because it looks more like a Buddhist temple than a mosque.
Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia (Ohio University Press, 2016) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other online retailers. Read excerpts at www.davidhmould.com (Travel Blogs) or Facebook /PostcardsFromStanland/ or view readings and interviews on YouTube