Kazan Kremlin is one of the World Heritage Site situated in the city of Kazan, Russia. Inside the citadel, stand many historical buildings which one of them is the Kul Sharif Mosque. At the time of its construction, it was one of the largest mosques in Europe outside of Istanbul. But today, it is not anymore since new mosques have been built and surpassed the size of Kul Sharif. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, so let us take a look at these 4 unique facts of Kul Sharif Mosque of Kazan Kremlin.
1. Named after a famous imam
Five centuries ago, there was a significant mosque in the Kazan Khanate – a medieval Tatar Turkic state which is now a part of European Russia – called Al-Kabir. The mosque was destroyed by Ivan The Terrible during the siege of Kazan. To commemorate the mosque, Kul Sharif Mosque was then built on approximately the same site. The name of the mosque itself is derived from the name of a religious scholar who served the Kazan Khanate’s mosque at that time. Kul Sharif died while defending Kazan from the forces of Russia in 1552 together with many of his students. The mosque is there now as a tribute to his services for the Tatars.
2. More than just a worshipping place
Because Kul Sharif Mosque is included on the list of World Heritage, the establishment serves not only Muslim worshippers but also tourists who are eager to be enlightened about the history of the Kazan and Tatars. For that purpose, the mosque complex has upper and lower platforms. The upper one is designed for prayers, while the lower functions as museum and excursion. The predominant use of the mosque is actually more to the educational side but during Muslim holy days such as Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha the whole complex is used for prayers. Beside the main mosque building there are also a library, a publishing house, a wedding hall, and the imam’s office.
3. Symbols used around the mosque
Kul Sharif mosque stands in the Kazan Kremlin complex neighboring the Annunciation Cathedral to symbolize the peaceful coexistence of the two religions in the same nation. The architecture of this mosque also uses the shape of tulip like Lala Tulpan Mosque in Ufa. This shape is a symbol of rebirth and prosperity and also commonly used among the Tatar community as ornaments. Tulip has also been declared as a symbol of Ecclesiastical Administration of Muslims in Russia. The main dome of the mosque is 36 meters tall and resembles the shape of Kazan hat that the Khans used to wear in the old time and emphasizes the Kul Sharif Mosque as a pride of the city. The eight minarets, which exceed the usual number of minaret on any mosques, with eight crescents are there to preserve the original number of minarets on the old mosque. The four main minarets reach the height of 58 meters.
4. Made by the unity of Muslims around the world
Although it is not exactly the biggest mosque in Russia, Kul Sharif Mosque is a massive building. It can accommodate 1,500 worshippers inside and ten thousand more out on the open air square in front of the mosque. The whole Kul Sharif complex covers 19,000 square meters of land. Being one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, Kul Sharif Mosque was built with parts sent from different parts of the globe. The lush carpet that covers the entire floors was made in Persia, while the chandeliers were sketched by Tatarstan’s artists and then made in Czech Republic. The donation to fund the construction of the Kul Sharif Mosque also came from many countries, namely Saudi Arabia and Uni Emirate Arab. The name of them who have donated for the mosque are inscribed and put in the main hall where a large Qur’an – which was also a gift – written in many translations stands. It is safe to say that Kul Sharif Mosque is a big symbol of unity of Muslims of the globe.
Tatarstan is one of the most picturesque and gorgeous republics in Russia. The nature, the view, the neatness of the city plan, the historical buildings, and friendly citizens. Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan where the Kul Sharif Mosque is located in, is one of the cities you should visit when you travel to Russia. Swing by the Kazan Kremlin to get immersed in the beautiful heritage square of the city, and even if you are not a Muslim, go ahead and visit the mosque to see what the museum has to offer and how for sure you will get tons of beautiful pictures around the complex. Try and visit it during the golden hour or at night and the playlight will mesmerize you. The very, very beautiful lamps illuminate the whole complex and add to the serenity of the place.
The Kul Sharif Mosque complex is elevated, so you can easily see the minarets from corners of the city. When you are in the complex, you can see the beautiful view of the city of Kazan from above and how the greatness of the mosque is contrasting the sky. Just like a painting. The construction of the complex lasted from 1996 to 2005 and opened on June 24, 2005 right when Kazan celebrated its 1000th anniversary. The Kul Sharif mosque was the biggest facility built for the anniversary. After you read about the 4 unique facts of Kul Sharif Mosque of Kazan, Russia do you feel like going there? Try and find out more about both the city and the establishment, and you will guaranteed be hooked and feeling like packing right then and there to fly to Tatarstan, Russia.