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Discovering Kazan’s Kul Sharif, One of Europe’s Largest Mosques

To view more photos and videos of this mosque in Kazan, Russia, explore the Kul Sharif location page.

Shimmering like a blue and white jewel, the rebuilt Kul Sharif mosque (Кул-Шариф) is the Islamic heart of the Russian city of Kazan. Its striking architectural features include four towering minarets, marble and granite exterior facades, alabaster carvings, stained glass windows and a central dome inspired by the ancient crown worn by Kazan khans. With a capacity to accommodate 1,500 worshippers within and 10,000 more outside on the two adjacent pavilions, Kul Sharif is one of Europe’s largest mosques.

Despite its recent completion in 2005, the mosque has a long history. The original Kul Sharif mosque was a cornerstone of the city’s civic and religious activity in the 16th century until it was destroyed in 1552 during the conquests of Ivan the Terrible. Today, the mosque stands as an important symbol for the city’s Islamic past and for the region’s vision as a peaceful home for its multiethnic populations.