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The Mosque of the Congregation of Moslems




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Arch. N. Vasiliev, S. Krichinskiy, A. Gogen (1909-1920), Kronverkskiy prospekt, 7.

The Saint Petersburg Mosque when opened in 1913, was the largest mosque in Europe, its minarets attaining 49 meters in height and the impressive dome rising 39 meters high. The mosque is situated in downtown St Petersburg, so its azure dome is perfectly visible from the Trinity Bridge across the Neva. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers.

The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian capital exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. The architect Nikolay Vasiliev patterned the mosque after Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane in Samarkand. Its construction was completed by 1921.

Worshippers are separated by gender during a worship service; females worship on the first floor, while the males worship on the ground floor. The Mosque was closed to worshippers from 1940 to 1956.

History

In 1882, Selim-Girei Tevkelev who in 1865 was appointed the Mufti of Orenburg turned to and obtained agreement from minister Count Tolstoy with the requirement for a mosque in St. Petersburg. In 1906, the Minister formed a special committee headed by Ahun Ataulla Bayazitov to collect 750 000 rubles within 10 years for the construction of the mosque. They organised collections in towns and providences of Russia and received donations from rich sponsors. In addition the committee input securities in total amount of 142, 000 rubles and also stamps for mosque»s project. The biggest donor was Said Abdoul Ahad, Emir of Bochara who undertook all expenses for the building.

The location of the mosque was symbolic, sited opposite the Peter and Paul»s Fortress, in the city centre. The permission to purchase the site was given by Emperor Nicholas II in Peterhof on 3 July 1907. That autumn, the committee approved the project by architect Nikolay Vasiliev, the engineer Stepan Krichinskiy, and construction was overseen by academic Alexander von Gogen. The building facade was made by combining both oriental ornaments and turquoise blue mosaic.



On 3 February 1910, the brick laying ceremony was performed by Ahun Bayazitov, attended by government, religious and social figures. Among those who attended was Amir Buharskiy, Harusin, Novikov, the ambassadors of Turkey and Persia, Sultanov the Orenburg»s Muftiy, and Tevkelev, the leader of the Muslims party in the Duma.

The walls were made with grey granite and the dome and both minarets (tower) are covered with mosaic ceramics of sky-light-blue colour. Skilled craftsmen from Central Asia took part working on the mosque. The facades are decorated with sayings from Koran using the characteristic Arabian calligraphy. Internal columns are made from green marble. woman pray in on the first floor, above the western part of the hall. The mosque was covered by huge special made carpets woven by the Central Asian craftsmen.

The St. Petersburg Mosque was closed and was made into a warehouse during the Second World War. At the request of the first Indonesian President, Soekarno (whilst visiting the city), the mosque was returned to the Muslim community of the city in 1956, ten days after his visit. A major restoration of a mosque was made in 1980.

The Museum of the Political History of Russia (The Mansion of M. Kshesinskaya ballet dancer)

Ulitsa Kuybysheva, 2/4.

How did the appearance of politicians vary in the period from the Imperial Russia till our days? How did social crises and dominating ideology influence clothes of ordinary citizens in the XXth century? What did the first ladies of the country wear? These questions are in the focus of attention of the exhibition «Politics and Fashion».

Fashion as a «range of habits and the tastes dominating in a certain social environment during a certain period of time» reflects brightly and picturesquely different epochs. At all times clothes had a distinct indicative content, showed involvement in various social groups, and sometimes underlined political predilections.

This exhibition shows how, during the Soviet period, fashion which was considered a phenomenon of the bourgeois West, overcame a number of barriers to take a legal place in the life of our society. At the exhibition you can see how the appearance of the population depended on political, social and economic conditions. Certain clothes could tell about observance of social behavior rules or cases of deviation.

The Exhibition consists of 7 sections

Section I. Appearance of the population in the Imperial Russia in the early XXth century.

Section II. The Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War. Attributes of revolutionary fashion.

Section III. Fashion of the NEP period and struggle against it. Searches for the ”Soviet style» in clothes (the 1920s).

Section IV. Influence of the first five-year plans epoch on the Soviet people»s appearance. “Prosperity” course in the mid-1930s. Formation of the Soviet elite»s fashion and its influence on people»s tastes.




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