'Pride of Muslims' mosque opened in Shali
An opening ceremony for the largest mosque in Europe is being held today in the city of Shali, Chechnya, with more than 200 guests from 43 countries in attendance.
The new mosque has been heralded as 'The pride of Muslims'; it will be capable of seating up to 30,000 worshippers inside it and 70,000 worshippers outside.
The ceremony is also attended by presidential envoy to Russia's North Caucasian Federal District Alexander Matovnikov and Minister of North Caucasus Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Chebotarev.
Matovnikov read out the congratulatory message from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Construction of the mosque took seven years; the structure is spread across 5 hectares, its central dome is 40 metres tall and it features four 63-metre-tall minarets. The construction of the mosque has started in December 2012.
Adviser of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who oversees the construction of mosques in the republic, Amruddi Edilgiriev, said that the opening was timed to the birthday of first president of Chechnya Akhmad-Haji Kadyrov.
Edilgiriev explained why the mosque is called 'The Pride of Muslims'. "All Muslims will be proud of this magnificent building," he said. "It has already entered the top three most beautiful mosques after those Mecca and Medina," RIA Novosti cited the adviser to the head of Chechnya as saying.
The author of the mosque design is Uzbek architect Abdukahar Turdiev.
There are two mosques in Chechnya named after Ramzan Kadyrov's parents: the Heart of Chechnya mosque named after Akhmad-Haji Kadyrov and the mosque in Argun named after Kadyrov's mother Aimani Kadyrova.