Trans Eurasia travel

Mir Movsum Aga Mosque

Mir Movsum Aga (“The Boneless One”) was a holy man who was believed to have no bones. Many miracles are attributed to him. At Shuvelan, there is a beautiful shrine and Mosque where he is buried. As you can see from the photographs the exterior is a rich, patterned blue. Every internal surface is mirrored, though unfortunately photography is forbidden in the interior, so you will just have to take visitors word for how overwhelmingly beautiful it is.

You enter on two levels. Women are allowed to enter at ground level, whereas the men can take stairs to the raised entrance, which is specifically for men. Both entrances led to a large mirrored room, in the centre of which is the holy man's tomb, surrounded by decorated grilles. They say that if you circle the tomb seven times, in an anticlockwise direction, thus you ensure that your prayers would come true.

A double-domed shrine to Mir Movsum Aga is open 24 hours a day and receives dozens of visitors each day from throughout Azerbaijan and beyond. Beyond their spiritual function, shrines can play the role of local charity. An employee at the S,u"valan shrine’s slaughterhouse said workers collect enough sacrificed meat each week to provide assistance to approximately 600 local people.

One Soviet-era anecdote recounts how a finance minister’s wife who visited the Mir Movsum Agha shrine was cured of a disease that had stumped a team of Moscow doctors, reports an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe discussion paper on Islam in Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev, father of Azerbaijan’s current president, Ilham Aliyev, is believed to have visited the same shrine as a young KGB employee in 1948, the paper said.