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Qolsharif Mosque (Kazan)

The Kazan Kremlin, Kazan, Metro station: "Kremlyovskaya".

The Qolsharif Mosque is the main Muslim temple in Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan.

Construction of the Mosque within the Kazan Kremlin began in 1996 (in November of 1995, the Tatarstan President issued a corresponding decree). It was a recreation of a legendary multi-minaret mosque that situated in the capital of the Khanate of Kazan, the centre of religious enlightenment and science development in the Middle Volga Region of the 16th century. The mosque was destroyed in October 1552, when Kazan was assaulted by army of Ivan the Terrible.

The Qolsharif Mosque was opened on 24 June 2005, which was timed to the 1,000th Anniversary of Kazan City.

The Qolsharif is situated in the western part of the Kazan Kremlin. It is a symmetrical composition with the mosque in the centre and pavilions on each side, which harmonize the former military school building with the mosque complex. This gives the building some architectural significance and enriches the Kremlin panorama.

The Mosque can accommodate 1,500 people and 10,000 more in the front square.

Each of the four minarets is 57 meters (187 feet) high.

The dome is decorated with elements that associate with a shape and ornaments of Kazan Cap.

The new architectural and artistic appearance of the Mosque with eight minarets and its interior was reached thanks to logical elements that make the mosque architecture closer to local traditions.

Authors of the compositional idea and general layout were architects Sh. Latypov, I. Saifullin, A. Sattarov, and M. Safronov. Volume and plastic solutions were found by architects I. Saifullin, S. Shakurov, and A. Golovin.

The building was uniquely finished in accordance with its high class. The following kinds of finishing work were applied: ceramic boards and paintings made with 16th-century technology, ganch (carved alabaster decoration), Roman mosaic, hand-made wood and stone carving, classical stained- and fused-glass windows, gilding works and golden embroidery, and marble and granite panelled facade. Parquet floors of the men's and women's halls are covered with Persian carpets.

Natural stones such as granite, marble of different colours, onyx marble, and serpentinite were used to finish the interior.

Granite and marble were brought from the Urals; the inside decorations — carpets — were gifted by Iran government; a coloured crystal chandelier of five meters (16.5 ft) in diameter and weighing almost two tons was made in the Czech Republic. The stained-glass windows, mouldings, mosaics, and gilding make the temple even more splendid.

Inside the Mosque (on each side of the main hall), there are two balcony rooms for excursion parties.

The mosque complex includes the Mosque itself, a museum-library, a publishing office, and an imam's office.

The main hall holds books with surnames of all those who donated money for construction of the Mosque. Qur'an gift editions in various languages are also kept there.

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Qolsharif Mosque

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