Today we continue our series of publications about the most ancient religious buildings in Crimea with a story about the existing mosques.
Khan Uzbek Mosque
The oldest mosque on the peninsula is in the town of Stariy Krym. Khan Uzbek Mosque is an architectural landmark. It was founded in 1314. After almost two decades, madrasah (a Muslim religion promotion and educational school of the second stage — ed.) was added to it. However, to these days, only the ruins remained of the first religious school in Crimea.
In 2017, as part of emergency restoration work, walls were strengthened on the eastern and northern sides of the mosque and madrasah, painstaking work was done with ancient tiles on the roof of the building, restorers also renovated the mihrab.
Now the mosque itself is open to believers. Thousands of them flock here year-round. The religious building has one minaret and a simple rectangular shape with a gable roof. The inscriptions and carvings that survived to these days on the portal and the mihrab are not only decoration, but a historical "face" − they indicate the date of construction of the cult building.
Kebir Сami Mosque
The main Friday mosque in Crimea is Kebir Cami. This religious building is the oldest in the present-day Simferopol. As the still existing inscription on the portal runs, the mosque was built in 1508 on the land donated by the Crimean Khan Mengli I Gerai.
The place itself became known as Aqmescit (White Mosque) because of the white building of the Kebir Сami. The Kebir Cami complex hosts the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea.
Cuma Cami Mosque
The Cuma Cami Mosque in Eupatoria is one of the largest in Crimea. It was built in 1552 by the Turkish architect Khoji Sinan and was the only multi-domed mosque on the peninsula. The height of the building is 22 meters, the diameter of the dome above the central hall is 11 meters, and there are 11 smaller domes around it.
The mosque played a key role in the times of the Crimean Khanate: under its dome the rulers announced their right to the throne. During its existence, the building has been repeatedly restored and remodeled. In the USSR times, the mosque, like many other religious institutions, was used for secular needs, but in the 80s it received the status of a monument, and in the 1990s it was returned to the religious community.
Since October 2015, it is an object of cultural heritage of federal significance, and at the same time it is in the religious use.
Mufti Cami Mosque
This is the only surviving historical Muslim religious building in Theodosia. It was built in the years 1623-1637.
Its architecture combines the traditions of Byzantium and Turkey from the times of the Ottoman Empire. The building is square, with an area of 40 square meters. Three entrances are oriented to the cardinal directions. A minaret is built on the west side. Fragments of old pavers and ruins of Turkish baths still can be seen near the mosque.
From the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century, the mosque was converted into the Armenian Catholic Church of the Assumption. The religious building was returned to the Muslim community after the collapse of the USSR. And from 1998 to the present day, prayers of Cuma Namaz are held in the mosque on Fridays.
Seit-Settar Religious complex
A few years ago the Seit-Settar mosque was restored in Simferopol. It was built in 1850 by the former head of the Crimean capital Seit Settar Çelebi.
The religious complex has a rich history. The believers attended the mosque in the difficult post-revolutionary years, but in the pre-war time it was closed and the building used for economic purposes. It was returned to the religious community in the 90s. A Sunday school for women and children was opened in it. The first restoration works in the mosque were done in 1992-1993.
Today, the Seit-Settar religious complex includes a mosque, madrasah, student dormitory and an administrative building for the religious community. Men from 15 years old study there. They learn the Fundamentals of Islam, the Arabic alphabet and reading of the Koran, religious ceremonies and national traditions of the Crimean Tatars. Education is free of charge.
Of course, one of the most famous mosques in Crimea is the Great Khan Mosque or Khan Cami in Bakhchisaray. It is on the territory of the Khan's Palace. At the moment, the complex is undergoing large-scale reconstruction and the religious building is still closed to believers.