Juma Mosque Kul Sharif is a visiting card of Kazan, the main attraction of the city and one of the pilgrimage centers for Muslims.Despite the fact that the mosque is not a historical building, it quickly gained popularity among city residents and tourists. You can visit it both independently and during a group sightseeing tour.
The history of the construction of the Kul Sharif mosque
In 1552, the troops of Ivan the Terrible attacked the capital of the Kazan Khanate. On the occupied territory, key city buildings and mosques were methodically destroyed, and Orthodox churches were erected in their place. The main prayer building in the khanate was no exception.
It took more than four centuries to restore historical justice and recreate the multi-ministerial mosque on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin. It bears the name of the last imam and one of the leaders of the defense of the Kazan Khanate – Kul Sharif.
Work on the project of the architectural complex began in the winter of 1995-1996 and was complicated by the fact that there was no reliable information about what the building of the 16th century looked like. The assumption about the presence of 8 minarets was based on historical data on the eight provinces of the Volga Bulgaria, which they personified. The difference in relief was played with two platforms: the upper one was for ritual, the lower one was for holding museum events and excursions.
In 1997, the foundation of the building was laid, in 1998 the basement was erected and a monolithic frame was cast. The very next year, the domes and metal tops of the minarets were made, but they were installed only in 2001.
In total, the construction lasted about 10 years , was carried out mainly on donations from residents and organizations of Tatarstan. Records about them are included in special books that are kept in the main hall of the juma mosque. The estimated cost of construction work exceeds 500 million rubles.
In 2005, the opening of the mosque was timed to coincide with the 1000th anniversary of the capital of Tatarstan.
Location and architectural features
The Kul Sharif Mosque is located in the western part of the Kazan Kremlin and is part of the historical reserve of the same name. The architectural complex is spatially connected with the surrounding buildings, therefore it forms an organic ensemble with them.
Architectural features of the mosque in the Kazan Kremlin:
- The plan is two squares, intersecting at an angle of 45 degrees and forming the sign “blessing of Allah”.
- Includes 8 minarets, decorated at the top with a recognizable crescent: 4 main (height 57 m), 2 small and 2 more at the corners of the entrance portal (pseudo minarets)
- The walls are made in the form of eight pointed arches, decorated with ornaments and excerpts from the Koran.
- High window openings are filled with lancet stained glass.
- The main dome is set at a height of 36 m and has a rounded shape similar to the caps of the Kazan khans.
- The inlet group is made in the form of a half-cylinder.
- The second floor hangs slightly over the entrance and rests on columns.
The facades of the mosque in Kazan are faced with white marble, and the main dome and the tops of the minarets are painted turquoise. This color scheme, coupled with its location on the Kremlin hill, makes the building visible over a long distance.
The architectural complex of Kul Sharif includes not only a juma mosque, but also a memorial stone , an administrative building, and a fire station. The adjacent territory of the courtyard can accommodate about 10,000 people.
The entrance to the Museum of Islam is on the south side of the building, and the entrance to the prayer rooms is on the north.
Internal layout and interiors
The interior space of the Kul Sharif mosque in Kazan is divided into 5 floors – technical, basement and three ground floors. On the ground floor there are: ablution room, Islamic Museum, distribution lobby, wardrobes. From there you can get to the male and female prayer halls. Higher up there are balconies for tourists, and there is also a special room for a Muslim wedding ceremony.
Interesting fact! The interior of the Kul Sharif mosque can accommodate about 1,500 people. At the same time, the separation of visitors by gender is strictly observed, and prayer halls have separate entrances and exits.
All interiors are designed in light colors and create a festive, solemn atmosphere. They reflect the thousand-year traditions of the Tatars, their way of life.
In the decoration of the Kul Sharif mosque you can see:
- unique stained-glass windows;
- stone and wood carving;
- Roman mosaic;
- stucco molding;
- ceramic panels;
The most important room is the male prayer hall. Its floors are covered with expensive Iranian rugs, and a huge Czech crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, weighing up to two tons ! When turned on, 300 lamps light up on it. The walls are decorated with traditional floral ornaments and excerpts from the Koran. They also mention 99 names of Allah.
Visit to the Kul Sharif mosque
The main mosque in Kazan is not only a prayer building, but also a cultural and educational center of Tatarstan. In the Museum of Islam, you can get acquainted with the history of religion, as well as its distribution in the Volga region, look at the traditional Muslim attributes – rosary, various items for namaz. In the souvenir shop you can buy any of the goods to remember the visit to the mosque.
Note! When entering the Juma mosque, you must take off your shoes and cover your head with a scarf. Shoulders and knees should also be covered. You can not interfere with the prayer and otherwise disturb the peace in the halls.
The entrance to the building is free and free . You will have to pay a symbolic amount only at the entrance to the Museum of Islam. The doors of the mosque are open to visitors of all religions all year round.
However, during significant Muslim holidays, it can be difficult for a tourist to get inside because of the huge number of pilgrims from all over Tatarstan and neighboring regions.
The Kul Sharif Mosque in Kazan amazes with its architecture, interiors, grandeur and beauty. Do not be upset if, for some reason, you did not manage to get into prayer rooms or balconies for tourists.
The architectural complex leaves an indelible impression even when admiring it only from the outside. Moreover, in the dark, the mosque is illuminated, which favorably emphasizes its architectural features.