5 facts about Europe's LARGEST mosque (PHOTOS)

Said Tsarnaev/Sputnik
White marble, lots of gold and hand-paintings. What else is the ‘Pride of Muslims’ mosque in the Chechen town of Shali known for?

In 2008, one of the largest mosques in the world, the ‘Heart of Chechnya’, was opened in Grozny, the capital of Russia's Chechen Republic (Read more about it here). But, soon, the republic shook the world headlines again: In 2019, a mosque several times bigger was opened in the town of Shali. It is currently the largest in Europe. Here's what you need to know about it.

1. More than 100,000 worshipers can pray here

The mosque's inner courtyard

More than 30,000 people can fit inside the mosque; additionally, another 70,000 Muslims can pray on the surrounding territory. The mosque complex occupies more than five hectares in the center of the town of Shali, one of the largest in Chechnya.

The height of the mosque's dome is alone over 40 meters and its four minarets rise 63 meters high.

2. Unique design & decoration

The main chandelier is decorated Swarovski crystals

The mosque is lined with white marble from the Greek island of Thasos — 6,500 tons of it were needed. The floor around the ‘Kaaba’, the main Muslim shrine in Mecca, is decorated with the same marble. The walls and the dome inside are hand-painted in gold by craftsmen from Uzbekistan and Turkey. The main chandelier, which weighs about three tons, is also decorated with gold and Swarovski crystals.

The floor is covered with fabulous carpet woven out of New Zealand sheep's wool. Its area is 8,000 square meters and its weight is 36 tons.

3. Combines most renown elements of Islamic culture

Craftsmen from Uzbekistan and Turkey hand-painted the walls and the dome in gold

In the decor and architecture of the mosque, one can see features of Persian, Arabic, Central Asian and Byzantine culture. Uzbek architect Abdukakhar Turdiyev, the author of the project, used some recognizable elements of Samarkand and Bukhara architecture, as well as symbols of Chechen national architecture and features important in the Islamic world. Thus, the mosque's entrance gate resembles a Taj Mahal-style arch or the Miri Arab in Bukhara. The ‘mihrab’ (the wall pointing towards the ‘Kaaba’) is decorated with inscriptions from the Koran in Arabic.

4. It is called The Pride of Muslims

Worshipers perform namaz during Eid al-Adha celebrations

When the mosque was built, it was immediately assumed that it would become a place of mass pilgrimage, not only for Chechens, but for all those who confess to Islam. And the majestic building has indeed become the “Pride of Muslims” all over the world. An advisor to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in charge of the construction put it on a par with the historic mosques of Mecca and Medina.

5. It's dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad

The Pride of Muslims evening view

The grand opening of the mosque on August 23, 2019, was timed to coincide with the birthday of the first president of Chechnya, Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov, who was killed in a terrorist attack in 2004. However, the mosque was eventually dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad.

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