The St. Petersburg Mosque is a Muslim shrine, a masterpiece of oriental religious architecture and one of the finest buildings in the “Northern Capital of Russia.
The St. Petersburg Mosque can accommodate about five thousand worshipers. It ranks 11th place in the list of the largest Islamic temples of Europe: the height of the minarets reaches the 15-story building.
The construction of the Mosque has historically justified: many workers of the Islamic faith participated in the construction of St. Petersburg. Tatar settlement appeared in the city since its foundation. By the end of the 18th century, another three Muslim communities were formed in St. Petersburg. Gradually, it had been necessary to create a prayer building for them.
In 1881, representatives of the Petersburg Muslim communities filed a petition for the construction of a Mosque. The initiative was approved, but official permission was issued after 25 years.
All this time, believers collected of funds for the future temple. In 1906, the construction committee began its work. A project competition was held and a plot of land was bought near the Peter and Paul Fortress. In 1908, the Emperor approved the project of the architect Nikolai Vasilyev.
February 16, 1910, was the official ceremony of laying the temple. By 1913, the structure was ready in draft form, undecorated. On 21st February the first worship was held at the big meeting. The finishing works of the domed building with two high angular minarets were completed in April 1920.
In 1940, the temple was closed. On Fridays and holidays, believers prayed on the Muslim side of the Novo-Volkovskoye cemetery, and the beautiful religious building served as a medical warehouse and deteriorated gradually.
The Tatar community’s petitions about the return of the Mosque to believers were satisfied in 1955, and worship was resumed in the cathedral. In 1968, the religious building received the status of the state protected architectural monument. The temple was reconstructed several times, restoration work is being carried out on its territory even today.
The construction is monumental: 32 meters – in width, 45 meters – in length. The main dome rises at a level of 39 meters above the ground, the Spiers of the two minarets are 48 meters high.
The uniqueness of the temple in the symbiosis of the northern modern with traditional oriental style. The builders combined rough Finnish stones with decorative ceramic tiles.
The dome drum cut through many apertures, which is not typical for Muslim buildings. This is done to improve the illumination of the prayer room.
The walls of the cathedral are decorated with grey textured granite, bringing together an unusual eastern building with neighboring European-style buildings. Turquoise blue ceramics adorns the entrance portal and the dome.
The facade is very picturesque with medallions with quotations from the Quran, bred by ornate Arabic script. Quotes from the holy book adorn the entrance portals and apertures between the doors.
Unfortunately, many decorative ceramic plates were damaged or destroyed during the Soviet period. Now the lost majolica is replaced by porcelain.
The traditions of Islamic architecture are fully respected in the interior design. The main prayer hall with green marble columns is full of lightness and solemnity. The concave niche in the wall, orienting the believers during the prayer towards Mecca, is decorated with blue ceramics.
In accordance with the canons of Islam, there are no elements depicting people and animals in the interior. The walls are decorated with ornaments. The floor is paved with a big beautiful carpet. There is a monumental chandelier, painted with quotations from the holy Quran in the center of the hall.
The inner space, as generally accepted in any Muslim temple, is divided into zones. There is a male prayer hall on the ground floor. The second floor is occupied by the women’s hall. The third floor is placed under the primary school. Structurally, the second and third floor are mezzanines, built into the upper space of the main hall.
About five thousand Muslims can pray at the same time in prayer halls. The Namaz schedule is published on the official website. Despite the repair work, all the established religious rituals are held in the St. Petersburg Mosque.
In addition to the five-day daily worship, additional spiritual events are held:
- Every Thursday, an evening prayer is held in honor of Friday’s day, for which Allah gives the believers new benefits
- During Ramadan, there is a celebratory collective prayer, indicated in the sacred legends about the prophet Muhammad
- Classes of a Muslim elementary school where they teach the Arabic, Tatar language and the basics of Islam are held here
Tours are agreed with the administration in advance. The time is set according to the prayer schedule. Tours are held daily, except Friday.
For this you need:
- write to email@example.com, specify the date, time of the tour, the number of tourists
- within two days you will receive a permit for the tour with the guide’s contact details
- come 10 minutes before the tour to the administrative building of the temple complex
Duration of the guided tour is 1 hour. You will be introduced to the history of religious buildings, architectural and design features. You will learn a lot of interesting information about the basics of Islam.
- The great conqueror Timur’s mausoleum in Samarkand became the prototype of the cathedral mosque.
- There is a legend that an underground passage passes from the Emir of Bukhara’s house to the Mosque.
- For the first time in world practice, during reconstruction, the lining of the dome was performed not by traditional ceramics, but by more durable, lightweight porcelain.
The temple is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Due to the restoration work, the schedule can be shifted. You can find out the information on the official website of the mosque.
People of any religion can be guests of the cathedral. Group tours are possible only in agreement with the administration.
Visitors must follow simple rules
- Don’t come in revealing clothes
- You must take off your shoes when entering
- Turn off the phone
- Don’t talk loudly
- Don’t go behind the tape
- Neither eat nor drink during the tour
- Do not take photographs, audio recording, video filming of employees, mosque ministers, and parishioners
Interior photography is allowed beyond the prayer hours.
Additional rules are written for women
- Cover the head with a scarf
- Don’t enter the lower male prayer hall
- Come to a Muslim temple in a modest outfit and without bright makeup
These rules are a manifestation of respect for the feelings of believers. Visitors with misbehavior are asked to leave the temple.
The private visits are free, but a voluntary donation is considered good form. Each sightseer determines the size of the donation himself or herself.
How to get there
The temple is located in the Petrograd district at the crossing of Kronverksky Prospect with the Horse Lane. It is surrounded by famous historical monuments: the Peter and Paul Fortress, the house of Peter I, the Alexander Lyceum.
Address: St. Petersburg, Kronverksky Prospect, 7.
There is the Gorkovskaya metro station at 370 meters from the Mosque. The road from the station to the cathedral takes about 7 minutes. From the metro, you need to move to the right by crossing the underpass, along the tram line in the direction of the Peter and Paul Cathedral and the bridge across the Neva.
The St. Petersburg Cathedral Mosque is a functioning temple with a rich history, an educational center and a unique monument of architecture. This makes the mosque one of the most interesting cultural sites in the northern capital.