Tatarstan is famous for its beautiful mosques. Islam began to penetrate the territory of the future republic as early as the 8th century, so here you can discover the diversity of mosques - from classical buildings to modern ones with a combination of unusual elements.
Here is just a small list of well-known Tatar mosques, each with its own unique history, architecture, and significance for the local community.
Kul Sharif Mosque
The Kul Sharif Mosque in Kazan is one of the most famous and beautiful mosques in Russia, a symbol of Tatarstan that adorns the panorama of Kazan Kremlin and attracts tourists with its original architecture and tall turquoise minarets. The complex is a prototype of the mosque of the Kazan Khanate, destroyed in 1552 during the siege of the city by Ivan the Terrible. The construction of the mosque began in 1996, and it opened its doors to visitors nine years later, in honor of the 1000th anniversary of Kazan. The mosque now houses the Museum of Islamic Culture, a room for nikah ceremonies, and the imam's office.
Iske Tash Mosque
Iske Tash, also known as the Old Stone or Ninth Cathedral Mosque, was built in 1802. According to legends, it was erected on the burial site of Tatar warriors who died in 1552 during the capture of Kazan
by Ivan the Terrible. The imams of the mosque were mostly men from the Amirhanov family, one of whom was the famous Tatar writer Fatikh Amirhan. Iske Tash is located in Novo-Tatar Sloboda, the historical part of Kazan, which combines pre-revolutionary monuments, a large industrial zone, and Soviet architecture. Nearby is a river port from which you can embark on a journey along the Volga or simply spend a day by the water.
The Mardjani Mosque was built with the personal permission of Catherine II in 1767 and became the first stone mosque constructed after the conquest of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. The construction was funded by Kazan residents - at that time, 62 people raised 5000 rubles. The mosque still serves as a religious center for Tatars and an important architectural monument of the 18th century. The Mardjani Mosque is located in the Old Tatar Sloboda among bright and elegant houses - former mansions of Tatar merchants, industrialists, and intellectuals.
Another landmark of the Old Tatar Sloboda was built in 1868 using funds from Kazan merchant and philanthropist Zigansha Usmanov, so it was originally called Usmanovskaya Mosque and later became Sultanovskaya in honor of the founder's son. The honor of reading the first prayer was given to Shigabutdin Mardjani - a famous Tatar theologian, enlightener, philosopher, and historian. This is one of five Horde minarets in the world, three of which are located in Bolgar and Kasimov, and the remaining two in Kazan, with the last one being built in modern times in Bolgar.
Bolgar. White Mosque
It is considered an architectural gem of modern Tatarstan and is compared to the famous Indian Taj Mahal. The White Mosque was built in a record one and a half years and opened its doors in 2012. The entire architectural ensemble includes a mosque, a prayer area, an arcade of eastern columns, buildings for clergy, and an artificial pond. The walls of the mosque are adorned with Eastern ornaments and verses from the Quran, while the minarets are built in the classical style of Medina's Prophet's Mosque, and the main dome is decorated with intricate stained glass.
Chistopol. First Cathedral Mosque
One of the oldest mosques in Tatarstan was built in 1859 on the site of a burned-down temple. Throughout its history, it has been rebuilt and destroyed by fires several times, but local residents managed to preserve this unique architectural monument. The cathedral mosque is built in the eclectic style of national-romantic direction and is a monument of cult Muslim architecture of the mid-19th century. Local clergy Muhametzakir Mukhametkamalov and Mukhametnazip Amirhanov played an important role in religious and educational activities - thanks to them, Muslim education was established in the republic, and the first schools for Tatar children appeared. Currently, a madrasa continues to operate at the mosque, and a children's camp operates during the summer.
Naberezhnye Chelny. Tauba Mosque
This landmark of the old part of Naberezhnye Chelny was built in 1992 to commemorate the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. Unlike most mosques in the republic, Tauba is built in a modernist style using silicate brick, which surprises tourists and stands out among old buildings. The exterior of the mosque is faced with pleasant light tiles and decorated with verses from the Quran, while the interior features medallions, white marble, and carved vegetal ornaments.
Nizhnekamsk. Cathedral Mosque
The central Muslim temple of Nizhnekamsk was built for the 30th anniversary of the city and also reflects an unusual geometry for a mosque in its architecture. It was constructed in 1996 as a whole religious complex - it includes a Center for Culture and History, its own library, a hotel, and a Muslim educational institution madrasa where young Muslim boys from all over Russia are educated. This is the only mosque in Tatarstan built in the neoclassical style with several minarets reaching a height of 66 meters, making it one of the tallest in Russia.
- Jan 1, 2024
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