Necropolis and underground mosque Shopan-Ata is one of the largest and oldest burial and religious complexes in Kazakhstan. Numerous structures of the ensemble date with wide gap of time between the ninth and nineteenth centuries. Center of the complex is the underground mosque Shopan ata located at 12 km north-east of the village in Senek in Karakiya District, Mangistau region
The monument is a carved rock mosque in the array. Mosque lodgment is divided into three parts. First, the central hall (7.1 - 5.1 m) - a kind of khanak . In the southwest corner of the central hall is a gently sloping ramp. The chapel and two burial chambers are at the top. The burial chamber, in which Shopan -Ata is buried, is recessed into the rock - a small vaulted building. Along the long, now the littered corridor, we can get into the second chamber burial located in the northwestern corner of the mosque, where, according to the legend, is the grave of his daughter. Across the width of the southern and western walls of the central hall spacious accommodation for pilgrims are felled. The room is illuminated by a round hole in the ceiling. A long wooden pole comes out through the hole. The place where the pole stands is considered to be sacred. The room of the mosque, located on the east side of the central hall, connected with it by means of the doorway and the window - manhole. The walls of the mosque are hewn roughly enough, and there is no indoor decor in the lodgement. Near the main mosque, the second is located with its separate entrance . Besides the mosque necropolis Shopan ata consists of numerous structures. The oldest of them is the tombstones of Kypchaks presumably of X - XIV centuries. Most of the monuments set up burial constructions: walls - kulpytasy , koytasy , fences and mausoleums without domes . Later than others, in the XIX century a number of mosques without domes with tamgas were built.
A legend about occurrence of the underground mosque is popularly known. According to the legend, Shopan -ata was a learner of the legendary Sufi Ahmed Yasaui. Once the mentor gathered all his disciples and gave them a task to go to preach Islam in different parts of the world. Destination had to be determined with the flying arrow of the learners. Where the arrow falls, there has the preacher to go. The arrow of Shopan - Ata flew to Mangystau and fell in the realm of the rich cattleman Bayan. Shopan ata got the job from the bai, but Bayan soon realized the true purpose of his visit. As a result, the cattleman gave Shopan - ata his daughter in marriage. Many years later, at the foot of the cliff where the arrow fell, Shopan ata built an underground mosque.
Necropolis Shopan ata was investigated in 1952 by the expedition led by architectural Malbagara Mendikulov in 1977-1978 - expedition of the Ministry of Culture of Kazakh SSR and expedition of Republican Society for Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in 1982.