The Saint Petersburg Mosque located not far from Peter and Paul Fortress is not the only Moslem functioning temple in the city, but also a religious and cultural center of numerous Moslem communities. A turquoise-blue dome accompanied by two minarets creates a bright exotic spot in a typical for Saint Petersburg view of Petrogradskaya Side.
The Moslem inhabitants of Saint Petersburg pleaded the city authorities for the mosque' building beginning from the 80-s of the XIX-th century, but permission was given only in 1906. The future mosque had to be erected in a spot close to Troitsky Bridge. The contest for the best project was immediately announced. The winners were architects S. Krichinsky, N. Vassilyev and A. Gogen. In 1910 the work began.
According to the architects' design the outlook of the temple embodied traditions of the ancient Moslem architecture. A turquoise dome of the Mosque is similar to this of famous Samarkand Gur-Emir Mosque where legendary Timur and his descendants are buried; the main entrance is very alike with entrances to also famous mausoleums of Shakhi-Zinda. The building's outer walls are covered with dark-gray granite. Facades of the Mosque are decorated with intricately written sayings from Koran.
The temple's interior is also made according to Islamic traditions. The mihrab (a semispherical niche in the wall covered with ceramic tiles) is turned in direction of sacred for Muslims Mecca. A grandiose chandelier hanging in the hall's center is inwrought with sayings from Koran. Walls are decorated with ornamental paintings with no one image of an animal as Islam demands.
The Mosque was solemnly opened in 1913 honoring with the first namaz (Moslem prayer) the 300th anniversary of Romanov royal family. Nevertheless all construction works were finished only seven years later. Since 1920 Moslem prayers had been regularly held in the Mosque. In 1940 the temple was closed and turned into the medical warehouse. Only over 15 years later, in 1956 the Saint Petersburg Moslem community got the temple back.
Nowadays the Saint Petersburg Mosque is one the biggest Moslem temples in Europe. During grand religious festivals the Mosque can host up to 5000 faithful.