Chao mosque, like most in Upper Adjara, was built by local architects and decorated by Laz craftsmen invited from Lower Adjara. After the minaret was demolished by order of Soviet authorities in 1936, the mosque was converted into a warehouse and the adjacent madrasa became the village “social club”—the latter still is an enthusiastically used institution. The post-Soviet renovation was supported largely by local funds and a few donations: carpets from Batumi, exterior corrugated metal siding from Turkey. Despite a decidedly contemporary pastel color scheme, the interior is filled with traditional cornstalk murals (a recurring motif for the region also found at Akho, Dghvani, and Ghorjomi). The greatest danger to the mosque is rural depopulation: many families relocated after a 1998 landslide, leaving the mosque with fewer attendees and diminishing support for ongoing renovations.
DISTRICT : Khulo
LOCATION : 41°37'12.8"N 42°17'34.4"E
POPULATION : 212
CONSTRUCTION DATE : 1909-1912
RENOVATION DATE(S) : 1993-1995
ARCHITECT : Laz Craftsmen From Batumi/Gonio
MINARET : Yes (Original demolished 1936)