Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’

01 April 2022


One of the landmark events of this year’s celebrations of the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria is the laying of the foundation stone of the Cathedral Mosque in Kazan. Today, Kazan hosted a briefing on how many adherents the new mosque would accommodate, what the complex would comprise and where the mosque would be located.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’


It is noteworthy that today, 1 April, the launch of the International Competition to develop the architectural concept for the Cathedral Mosque has also been announced. As the speakers at the meeting with journalists said, the competition jury would be made up of leading architects, representatives of scientific community, Muslim clergy, as well as state and municipal authorities.

Where will the Cathedral Mosque be located in Kazan?

The area where the Kyrlai Amusement Park used to be located was chosen to house the mosque. According to the experts, that site is conveniently located in terms of urban landscape, as it is visible from the main visual points of Kazan. In addition to it, the site makes it possible to house a construction of the required size as well as sufficient parking space.

During the briefing, Galina Aidarova, Professor of the Department of Theory and Practice of Architecture at the Institute of Architecture and Design of the Kazan State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, noted that the location of the future mosque met the main principles for the construction of unique facilities of national and all-Russian significance.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’

‘The building site is located in the historic centre of Kazan and is well accessible to all areas of the city; it is well observed from the Volga River and will be an important landmark in the urban space. The mosque location opposite the Kremlin creates an architectural and spatial dialogue between the ancient Kremlin, looking into the past, and the new Cathedral Mosque, looking into the future. Besides, the future Cathedral Mosque will improve the architectural ensemble of the right bank of the Kazanka River, creating large, subordinate to the Kremlin object that will compositionally enrich the water area of the Kazanka River,’ the expert highlighted.

Aidarova also stressed that the main mosque of the Republic must meet the principles of conformity with regional traditions, as well as spiritual expectation of Muslims.

‘It will also be a major religious and multifunctional centre where all residents of the Republic and tourists will find a comfortable well-appointed environment packed with various social and cultural functions,’ the specialist concluded.

The laying of the foundation stone will take place on 20 May within the framework of the festivities marking the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’


Competition for the draft design of the Cathedral Mosque

The main news of the briefing was the announcement of the launch of the International Competition to develop a draft design for the Cathedral Mosque. As Ilnur Rakhimov, Executive Director of the Igelek-Dobrota Republican Foundation for the Promotion of Spiritual and Moral Development, noted, the estimated capacity of the future Muslim temple was 10 000 people.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’

‘The details of the competition can be found on the specially created website with the same name. For the time being, the main news feed will relate to the competition we are running, and accordingly, once the competition is over, we plan to dedicate the website to the work of the foundation and the construction of the mosque. The competition itself will last for three months. On 8 July, on the eve of Eid al-Adha, we are planning to sum up the results. Within 15 days, we expect everyone to send preliminary applications. The competition is international, open and will be held in two stages. The first stage is the selection of those creative teams and architectural firms that are planning to take part in the competition. For the remainder of the competition, they will be involved in the elaboration of ideas and conceptual designs. At the end of the second stage, the jury will select the winners on the basis of a points system. In total, there will be three prizes: 1 – 2,5 million rubles, 2 – 1 million rubles, 3 – 500 000 rubles,’ Rakhimov shared the details of the competition.

Tatar and Russian artists as well as international teams can take part in the design of the mosque. As the speaker assured, geography of the participants would be as wide as possible.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’


In his turn, Shamil Gafarov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, Head of the Cabinet Office of the republic of Tatarstan, highlighted the importance of the Cathedral Mosque in Kazan and said that Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Chairman of the Group of Strategic Vision ‘Russia – Islamic World’, had received numerous appeals to address the need for the project.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’

‘After Rustam Minnikhanov’s approval, the construction of the Cathedral Mosque was included in the federal action plan to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. Separate Igelek-Dobrota Foundation was established; Supervisory Board of the Foundation was formed and headed by Rustam Minnikhanov. We discussed the project and consulted with Mintimer Shaimiev, the first President of Tatarstan. It is noteworthy that this issue was of concern not only to the residents of Kazan, but to all residents of Tatarstan, Muslims,’ Gafarov explained.

‘Kazan is Russia’s gateway to the Islamic World’

Speaking to journalists, Kamil Samigullin, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan, drew attention of the audience to the fact that international and Russian experience had been thoroughly studied before making the decision to build the Cathedral Mosque.


Kamil Samigllin: ‘Kazan is Russia’s Gateway to the Islamic World’

‘In Moscow there is a mosque for 10 000 worshippers; the Heart of Chechnya also houses about 10 000 Muslims; the Central Mosque in Makhachkala accommodates 15 000 worshippers, while the Shali Mosque in Chechnya – 30 000 people. The Muslim centre named after Prophet Isa in Makhachkala is now being built, which will house about 50 000 people. Thus, the minimum figure of 10 000 should not frighten anyone – this is ok, it is the call of the times. We understand that Kazan is a city that sets the tone for the development of Islam throughout the country, and is rightly recognized as the northernmost capital of Islam. This is the city of the first printed Quran among Muslims, in accordance with Usman lists. This year, Kazan has also gained the status of the OIC Youth Capital. For the first time ever, we will host an international Quran recitation competition. The laying of the foundation stone for our beautiful mosque is also expected; the Strategic Vision Group ‘Russia – Islamic World’ conducts active work; international events take place. In fact, Kazan is Russia’s gateway to the Islamic world, this is the northern capital of the Muslim world,’ Kamil Samigullin explained, stressing the fundamental importance and necessity of the Cathedral Mosque in Kazan.

According to the Mufti of Tatarstan, there is an urgent need among the Republic’s Muslims for a large venue where all believers can gather together and pray during holidays.

‘The mosque is not just a place of prayer, it is a spiritual and educational centre for Muslims, as various events are held there and children’s camps are organized. The Quran recitation competition will also be held in a mosque, even if it is international. Any Muslim visiting Kazan definitely wants to see a beautiful mosque and pray there,’ the speaker stressed.

The Mufti also explained that the Cathedral Mosque would include several sites – a museum, a venue for conferences to discuss pressing issues for the Muslim community.


Ilmira Gafiyatullina