It was unearthed in 1984
The Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi Mosque, which was built a thousand years ago, is one of the oldest mosques located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swat.
The remains of its stony architecture sit in a steppe on a soaring mountain and despite weathering storms, resisting floods, and withstanding earthquakes that shook its great walls, it still stands today.
The Ghaznavi mosque was excavated in 1984 by Italian archaeologists after an inscription-engraved stone was discovered at the site.
"The Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi mosque, the oldest in the northern part of the country and the finest proof of the Islamization of the Swat Valley at the beginning of the second millennium, was also excavated by U. Scerrato," writes Rida Arif Siddiqui. "All of these sites are located in or around the Swat Valley." Her research was for a Master's degree titled 'Community archaeology in Pakistan: Three sites in Gandhara as a case study' for the Department of Archaeology at İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University in Ankara in May 2018.
Archaeological work took place in Swat in the 1950s as a result of Guiseppe Tucci’s effort to establish the Italian Archaeological Mission. The mission's aim was to study the history of Buddhism in Swat valley. According to Siddiqui, the first site to be excavated was Butkara I, by Domenico Faccenna from 1956 to 1962.
“From that stone they found that a mosque had been built here during the reign of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi,” said Niaz Ali Shah, the regional officer of Swat’s Archaeological Department. “It was built by Mahmud’s nephew between 1048 and 1049. He was a soldier in his army as well.”
The mosque was actually a 'university' of the time. It had a hostel and classrooms for Quranic learning.
In 2008, after centuries of silence, the Azaan was sounded from the mosque and prayers are regularly offered here.