The Old Moscow Cathedral Mosque on Prospekt Mira was remembered by the residents of the city for its incredible popularity during the days of the main Muslim celebrations – Kurban-bairam and Uraz-Bairam. On these days, adjacent neighborhoods overlapped, and thousands of worshipers filled them.
And this is not surprising. The previous building of the temple was significantly less than its current size. Today, the Moscow Cathedral Mosque is one of the most interesting architectural sites of the capital. Its high minarets are visible far beyond the Olympic Avenue.
More than a hundred years ago, a mosque was located on the site of the current luxurious building. Moscow Cathedral Church was erected in 1904. The building will be built according to the design of the Moscow architect Nikolay Zhukov, mainly at the expense of the famous patron of the arts, merchant Salih Yerzin. This mosque became the second Muslim temple in the capital, but after the mosque was closed in Zamoskvorechye (in 1937), the address of Vypolzov lane, 7, became a symbol of Soviet Islam.
The church received a security certificate from Stalin himself, which was a telegram of thanks for helping the front during the Second World War. In addition, visits of well-known leaders of Muslim states in the post-war years to Vypolzov Lane reliably protected the religious life of the temple.
Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sukarno, Muammar Gaddafi and other well-known politicians who sought the favor of the leadership of the Soviet Union, during their visits to the capital, visited not only the Kremlin, but also visited any advanced enterprise, and without fail to visit the mosque.
Visits of distinguished guests to the mosque were quite difficult and often not according to the scenario. For example, in 1981, the leader of the Libyan Jamahiriya, who visited the mosque, did not follow the diplomatic protocol. Gaddafi was interested in the imams, why there are no young people in the church in the prayer hall, where you can buy religious literature in Moscow, he offered mosque financial aid.
The Iranians left portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini in the mosque on the windowsills, invited the imam of the Moscow mosque A. Mustafin to come to Tehran, although neither in the Soviet Union in general, nor the Muslim religious leaders in particular, had not yet decided on what had happened to the Islamic revolution.
Nevertheless, it was thanks to the international status of the mosque that it remained. This allowed in the Soviet capital to hold open prayers. Imams of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque became frequent guests at government receptions.
Imams of the mosque
Among the imams who served in different years in the mosque, the following should be highlighted: Bedretdina Alimov (the first imam), Safu Alimov, Abdulvudud Fattahetdinov, Ismail Mushtaria, Akhmetzyan Mustafin Rizautdin Basyrov, Ravil Gaynutdin, Raisa Bilalova, Ildar Alyautdinov.
Today, six imams serve in the temple. Ildar Alyautdinov – the chief imam of the Moscow Cathedral Mosque. He is assisted by Mustafa Kutyukchy, Rais Bilyalov, Anas Sadretdinov, Islam Zaripov and Vais Bilyaletdinov – the oldest imam (30 years of service). In Soviet times, it was the only mosque in the city that did not stop its work and regularly held services.
Construction of a new temple
By the end of the twentieth century, the mosque was increasingly called dilapidated and in need of renovation or reconstruction. Under this pretext, the building was tried to demolish on the eve of the Olympics-80, it was saved only by the intervention of the Muslim community in Moscow and ambassadors of some Arab countries.
At the beginning of the XXI century, the mosque received the status of a cultural heritage monument, but not for long. Soon the status was canceled, recognizing the building dilapidated and subject to demolition. In addition, by this time the mosque could not accommodate all believers, even in Friday prayers.
In 2011, the old building was completely dismantled. For several years, prayers were held in a temporary room. The construction was accompanied by numerous court proceedings between the authors of the project, Alexey Kolenteev and Ilyas Tazhiev, with the customer, represented by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims. Nevertheless, in 2005 it was decided to carry out a large-scale reconstruction. And in 2011, construction began on the construction of a new mosque designed by Aleksey Kolenteyev and Ilyas Tazhiev.
Moscow Cathedral Mosque: discovery
September 23, 2015 was a long-awaited event for the entire Muslim world of Russia. The magnificent Moscow Cathedral Mosque opened its doors. The address of the temple is Vypolzov Lane, Building 7. This holiday gathered numerous guests. President Putin, political figures, well-known representatives of science and culture took part in the solemn and very memorable ceremony. It should be noted that famous and honored guests in the mosque are not uncommon – both before and after reconstruction it remains the center of Islam in Russia, it is visited by many politicians, representatives of culture from around the world.
The Council of Muftis reported that the Moscow Cathedral Mosque was built for 170 million dollars. This huge sum includes donations of ordinary believers, and also means of large businessmen. A book was published in their honor, all benefactors are listed by name.
The current mosque can hardly be called a reconstructed structure. After all, from the old building remained only tiny fragments of the walls.
Moscow Cathedral Mosque occupies a huge area – 18,900 square meters (before the reconstruction it was 964 sq. M.). To strengthen the structure, 131 piles were driven into its base, as the metro line was laid nearby, and the underground river Neglinka carries its waters.
In the architectural complex of the new mosque there are several cultural and historical references. For example, the main minarets, whose height is more than 70 meters, resemble with their shape the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin in the capital and the leaning tower of Syuyumbike of the Kazan Kremlin. This is not an accident. The architects resorted to such a decision as a symbol of unity and friendship between the Tatar and Russian peoples.
The huge 46-meter dome of the mosque, covered with twelve tons of gold leaf, surprisingly harmonizes with the general appearance of the “gold-headed” Moscow. We took into account the architects and the original appearance of the mosque. Fragments of the old walls were re-assembled, and they successfully fit into the new interior, while retaining their old look. The top of one minaret is crowned with a crescent moon, which once decorated the old building.
Moscow Cathedral Mosque has certain features of the Byzantine style. The magnificent six-story building is crowned with minarets of various sizes, domes and towers. The area of the new building is 20 times higher than the original version. Today, the prayer halls for women and men accommodate about ten thousand believers. There are also special rooms for an ablution ritual, a large and comfortable conference and meeting room.
Leading Muslim imams hold services in the new mosque, they also perform traditional rites.
The Moscow Cathedral Mosque inside amazes guests with the luxury and splendor of decoration. Exquisite patterns on the walls of the temple, carefully considered decorative elements fully comply with the traditions of Muslim architecture. The interior uses classic colors for Islam – green, emerald, white, blue.
The interior of the dome, as well as the walls and ceiling of the mosque, is decorated with paintings. These are the sacred verses from the Koran, which were performed by Turkish masters. The Turkish government presented the grand mosque with magnificent front doors, unusual carpets (handmade) for the halls and luxurious crystal chandeliers.
The mosque is illuminated by more than three hundred and twenty lamps that are placed on the ceiling and walls. Their main part follows the shape of the dome of the temple. The main (central) chandelier is a giant lamp. Its height is about eight meters, and this design weighs one and a half tons. It was created by fifty masters from Turkey for three months.
It should be noted that it is not at all necessary to be a Muslim to see a mosque. Here, as in the mosques of Istanbul and other major cities, the doors are open to representatives of different religions. But you must follow certain rules.
Women should close their hair, and their clothes should be tight and closed. Before entering, remove your shoes, and try not to interfere with the worshipers.
Many guests of the mosque, who knew yet the old building, note that the magnificence and luxury of the new building delights. And this applies not only to the architectural features of the complex, but also to its interior decoration. I am glad that anyone (who observes the rules) can enter the mosque and get to know Islam, its history and traditions.