Muslim Russia

The Muslim community is one of the most numerous communities in Russia, especially in Kazan (Tatarstan republic) and also in Moscow and St.Petersburg. The history of Muslim religion in Russia goes back to the times of the Golden Hordea Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century, which recognized Islam as the official state religion. In medieval times Rus knew many years of Mongol occupation, and this certainly encouraged the integration of Islamic culture into Russian life. In 1773, Catherine the Great launched a policy of religion tolerance and Islam was recognized as the legitimate religion of the Tatars and Bashkirs in the Russian Empire. Nowadays Muslim tourists all over the world are warmly invited to visit magnificent Mosques in 3 great cities, or “3 capitals of Russia”, such as Moscow, St.Petersburg and Kazan.

Among the most noteworthy Muslim-friendly places in Moscow are:

  • Moscow’s first mosque, located in the Tatar Quarter, was built in about 1782. But it burnt down in the fire of 1812 during the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France. After the war the first wooden mosque (28, Bolshaya Tatarskaya Street), built in 1823, looked like a typical Moscow building. The reconstruction of the mosque in 1914 turned it into a two-storey stone building complete with an orphanage and a madrasa.

  • The Cathedral Mosque, located on Mira Avenue, is the main mosque of Moscow. It is the official residence of the Russian Council of Muftis and one of the largest, most picturesque and magnificent mosques in Europe. It now has the capacity to admit approximately ten thousand worshippers. Its minarets are over 70 metres high. The Mosque also comprises the Ismailiya Madrasah, a college for higher Islamic and Koran classes.

  • The Memorial Mosque on Poklonnaya Hill is part of the vast Victory Park complex dedicated to the Russian victory over the Nazis during World War II. Along with the Memorial Mosque, the complex comprises the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the Holocaust Memorial Synagogue, the Orthodox St. George Church and numerous sculptures. The mosque, built in a mixed Tatar and Caucasian style, features one 60-metre-high minaret and belongs to the Jameh Mosque type.

Not only Moscow, but also St. Petersburg invites Muslim tourists to visit its picturesque Mosques, such as

  • Cathedral Mosque is the main Mosque in St. Petersburg and one of the largest in Europe - it can accommodate up to 5,000 people, its minarets attain 49 meters in height and the impressive dome rise 39 meters high. The walls of this picturesque Mosque are made with grey granite and the dome and both minarets are covered with mosaic ceramics of sky-light-blue colour. Internal columns are made from green marble. The beauty and magnificence of the Mosque leaves many tourists deeply impressed.

  • Kolomyazhskaya Mosque is a second largest mosque in St. Petersburg, opened in 2009. The complex includes the Mosque with a 39-metre-high minaret and 23-metre-high dome, Islamic high school and two-storeyed Authority building. The north main entrance is decorated with a 3-metre-high half-moon, the western entrance is completed with Qur'an wisdom on marble boards. This Mosque not only enriches Muslim culture, but also completes the architectural image of the city.

Kazan is considered to be Muslim capital of Russia, therefore many mosques are worthy of attention. We offer the following list of places of worship, Kazan's must-see:

  • Kul Sharif mosque is the main mosque of Kazan and Tatarstan Republic, and one of the symbols of the city. It is really worth going inside: the floor is covered with Iranian handmade carpets, the ceiling is marked with a large colored chandelier made of bohemian glass, everywhere you can see stain-glass windows, stucco molding, amazing mosaic and gilding. The inner space is designed for 1500 people, the square in front of it can accommodate another 10000 people. The height of each of the four major minarets – 58 meters. Besides the main mosque building it includes a library, publishing house and Imam's office.

  • The Thousandth Anniversary of Islam Mosque is one of the most beautiful Mosques in Kazan. It was built in 1926 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the conversion of the Volga Bulgars in to Islam in 922. The hightlight of the Mosque is the unique three-tiered minaret, which reflects 3 periods of Tatars` life: pre-Islamic, Medieval and New. The Mosque also includes Madrasah and Sunday school for women and children.

  • Apanaevskaya Mosque is one of the oldest religious buildings of the city. It was built in 1771 according to the personal permission of Catherine the Great. The Mosque has a unique architectural style, which incorporates elements of the Russian "Moscow" Baroque and Tatar decorative art.