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The Republic of Ingushetia

Myat-Seli Temple Sanctuary

Myat-Sile Temple Sanctuary stands on top of the Myat-Seli mountain. Its architecture is simple and succinct. The building is rectangular (7 m x 3.6 m), with a stepped gable roof. Its total height is 4.93 m. A distinctive feature of the building are the two lancet arch doorways in western and eastern walls of the temple. The interior is divided by the lancet arch lengthwise into two equal parts.

In the ancient times, the most common among the Ingush were public prayers for rain. They were organized in rural and tribal sanctuaries during droughts. Most often, prayers for rain took place on the table rock, in the pagan sanctuary of Myat-Seli, deity of fertility and general welfare. Wednesday was the only day when such prayers were allowed. A group of locals lead by the priest climbed the sacred mountain to reach the sanctuary. Myat-Seli was belived to be a powerful diety; not only local ingushs but also people that lived in neighbouring North Osetia, Chechnya and Georgia worshipped it. Before the group walked a sacrificial bull with its horns wrapped in white cloth. On top of the mountain he was positioned to face east. Then the high priest also faced east and said a prayer asking god for rain and great harvest. When the prayer was over, the sacrificial animal was slaughtered, its meat boiled right there in huge post. In addition, on the congregation brought cheese, wine, ritual bread. Old people state that such ritual prayers were held until the beginning of the XX century. It is known that in 1925, during a severe drought, residents of the Dzheirakh gorge prayed for rain and made sacrifices in the sanctuary on top of the table rock.

Tourist Information Centre of the Republic of Ingushetia /www.ingtourism.ru

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Address: Republic of Ingushetia, Dzheirakh district


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