Mosque

In 1910, the building of Saint Petersburg Mosque was started. The construction works went under supervision of architects Krichinsky, Vasiliev and Gogen. According to the architects' plan, the Mosque of Saint Petersburg was supposed to be the replica of the Gur Emir Mausoleum of Tamerlane constructed in Samarkand at the beginning of the 15th century. It is one of the most remarkable monuments in Middle Asia. The construction works were supposed to be completed by the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs family ruling. In 1913, the official ceremony of the mosque took place. The first Mohammedan prayer was said. The importance of the mosque opening was emphasized by the presence of Bukhara emir and the ambassadors from Turkey and Persia.

The mosque attracts people with its exotic view, unusual for the northern landscape of Saint Petersburg. The dome and two minarets of the mosque are decorated with multi-colored tiles, the walls are made of gray granite and the facade is decorated with sayings from the Koran. The mosque of Saint Petersburg is one of the largest in Europe and the "northernmost" in the world.

The mosque architects followed the traditions of Moslem architecture in the interior decoration. The columns supporting the arches under the dome are faced with green marble. In the center of the hall hangs a giant chandelier, covered with sayings from Koran. The semi-spherical niche in the wall, calling the mihrab, is faced with blue ceramics. The mihrab's location is oriented to the sacred Moslem city of Mecca. Those who pray in the mosque have to face the mihrab. In the west side of the hall there is a gallery, intended for women's prayers, as according to Moslem custom women are not allowed to pray together with men.

Soon after the October revolution in 1917 the mosque was closed down. During World War II, it was used as a medical equipment warehouse. Only in 1956 the mosque started to function again, but it was in a very bad condition. The building needed restoration, as the granite and majolica facing were damaged by Saint Petersburg climate. Nowadays the mosque is restored and serves as a functioning Moslem temple.

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