Soaring up into the grey northern sky of St. Petersburg, like radiant blue torches, are the minarets of the city's Central Mosque. The austere background of the granite revetment serves to accentuate their geometry and monumental dimensions. The majolica turquoise of the round conical central dome of the mosque is in harmony with the bright oriental colorscheme of the carpet-like decor of the portals, embroidered with the Arabic script of suras from the Koran. This gem of the northern modernist architectural style has harboured a puzzle for many long years. This puzzle was a strange combination of dates inscribed on the main portal: February 23, 1910 and April 30, 1920. The first is the date of the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the temple. But what about the second? It does not fit the opening of religious services in the mosque, which was in 1913, or the completion of its construction (as historians tell us, the building was finished not in 10, but just in 3 to 4 years only).
While dealing with this chronological puzzle our experts have relied on documents from the archives of the State Museum of the History of Religion which were not revealed until 1995. These take us back to the foundation ceremony which was timed to the 25th anniversary of the reign of Emir Abdul-Akhat-Khan of Bukhara. Thanks to his cultural interests and background, combined with effective aid and assistance, the northern capital of Russia acquired a mosque designed and built in accordance with the rules of what experts call the "golden crosssection" and suffused with the genuine ascetic spirituality of Islam.
The construction of the central city mosque was quite an event in the life of the Moslem community of St. Petersburg which had more than 8 thousand members at that time. And the event had been preceded by the Russian conquest of Central Asia (1864- 1873), and its gaining control over the Great Cotton Way which was of vital importance for the textile industry of ... Read more