About this building
It was named after Kul Sharif, who was a religious scholar who served there. Kul Sharif died with his numerous students while defending Kazan from Russian forces in 1552. It is believed that the building featured minarets, both in the form of cupolas and tents. Its design was traditional for Volga Bulgaria, although elements of early Renaissance and Ottoman architecture could have been used as well. In 1552, during the Siege of Kazan it was destroyed by Ivan the Terrible. The mosque displays several detail through mosaics, ornaments, calligraphy, and more.
Tatar scholars speculate as to whether some elements of Kul Sharif Mosque can be seen in Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow (8 minarets, a central cupola, not typical for Russian architecture). Since 1996, the mosque has been rebuilt in the Kazan Kremlin, although its look is decisively modern. Its inauguration on July 24, 2005, marked the beginning of celebrations dedicated to the Millennium of Kazan. It can accommodate 6,000 worshipers.
The Iske-Tash Mosque was built in 1802, supposedly on the site of the mass grave of the soldiers who defended Kazan against the troops of Ivan the Terrible in 1552. In 1830, the mosque was rebuilt in the Classicist style. Closed in the 1930s, the mosque was used as a school and then as a warehouse during the Soviet period. In 1994, the mosque was returned to the believers.
The Märcani Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Russia, was one of the symbols of the tolerance granted by Empress Catherine II (1762 - 1996) to non-Christian Russian communities at the end of the 18th century. This mosque remains the historical centre of Tatar-Muslim spirituality. The mosque was built in 1766-1770 and is the first stone mosque built in Kazan after it was taken by Ivan Terrible in 1552. The building was constructed in the tradition of medieval Tatar architecture with a minaret on the roof and forms in the provincial baroque style. In the decoration of the facades and interiors, the architectural decoration of the Petrine Baroque is combined with the decorative motifs of Tatar decorative art.