When Cathedral Mosque to be opened in Crimea?

Buyuk Juma Jami project
Buyuk Juma Jami project

Up to the end of the 1980s, there was not a single Muslim community or mosque in Crimea. Today, the situation is completely different: there are stable Muslim associations in almost every settlement. Since 2014, Islam in Crimea has been flourishing: according to the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Crimea, over the past 7 years, 20 mosques were built and restored in the republic, including historical buildings.

Considering that the number of residents of the peninsula professing Islam is 15% or 300,000 people, the issue of building the Cathedral Mosque was on the agenda for many years, but only after joining Russia, specific steps were taken to implement the project. On September 25, 2015, precisely after Kurban-Bairam, a ceremony was held in Simferopol to start the construction of a religious Muslim building, which is designed to become a symbol of peace and stability in the multinational Crimea.

Buyuk Juma Jami is a unique project.

First, the Crimean masters are building the mosque: the competition for the best design of the Cathedral Mosque in Crimea was won by architects Idris and Emil Yunusovs who outperformed other participants. According to Idris Yunusov, while working on the drawings, he wanted the architecture of the building to combine the features of the Crimean Tatar and Ottoman styles. To bring the grandiose idea to life, the architects went to Turkey, where they studied archives and learned from the best masters, including the creator of the Heart of Chechnya mosque. As conceived by the architects, the building must look like a classic 17th-century mosque but with modern technologies.

Second, construction is carried out exclusively at the expense of patrons. By the end of 2016, more than 3 bln rubles had been donated to the project. Construction is carried out under the patronage of President Vladimir Putin, who on May 15, 2021, instructed the federal government and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea to provide the necessary assistance in completing the work.

Third, Buyuk Juma Jami is the largest religious Muslim institution on the territory of the Crimean peninsula. The total area of ​​the building is 5 700 square kilometres, and its capacity is more than 4,000 people. The area of ​​the mosque is 1,400 square meters, the height of the dome is 28 meters. The inner courtyard is in the Ottoman style, with 24 columns around the perimeter, and in the centre, there is a shadirvan - a  place for ablution before prayer. Most of the elements, in particular the portals and columns, are made of marble. The height of each of the four minarets is 50 meters. Buyuk Juma Jami is the highest mosque in Crimea.

The domes are hand-painted, and the coloured stained glass windows were custom-made. The main element of the ornament is a yellow tulip. This flower symbolizes Allah in Islam, and the yellow colour was defined by the architects as a tribute to the famous Crimean Tatar poet Noman Chelebidzhikhan, one of whose poems is called "Yellow Tulip".

However, it is not yet clear when the new symbol of multinational unity will open its doors to the ummah. Initially, it was planned to open the mosque on the fifth anniversary of the signing by the President of Russia of a decree on the rehabilitation of deported peoples from Crimea, but the date was repeatedly postponed, most recently due to the coronavirus pandemic, as a result of which construction work was suspended. The State Committee for Interethnic Relations of the Republic of Crimea does not exclude that a religious building, important for the peninsula, will be opened in 2022. Perhaps the head of state will attend the ceremony. “This is a landmark event, I will try, of course, to visit,” Vladimir Putin said on March 18 during an online meeting with the Crimean public.

So far, the residents of Crimea with impatience are waiting for an opportunity to visit the mosque: some to perform namaz and listen to a sermon and some to enjoy the architecture and learn about the Muslim culture.

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