Central Mosque of Almaty

On my way to China I made a stop in the city of Almaty, south of Kazakhstan where I applied for Chinese visa.. While waiting for the visa, I was wandering around Almaty, exploring its streets and architecture.. One morning I went to look for some mosques as it was my 4th day in Almaty and I didn’t see any mosques yet.. Asking people for directions I soon found myself standing in front of the Central Mosque of Almaty..
 

The Central Mosque of Almaty is one of the biggest mosques in Kazakhstan (can host 7000 people).. It was built on the site of an old mosque, which functioned here since 1890. The construction of the new mosque began in 1993 under the guidance of two Kazakh architects Baimagambetov and Sharpiyev, but was completed only in 1999.. In 2000, Turkish calligraphy masters decorated the large dome with verses from the Qur’an..

The blue dome of the mosque has a diameter of 20 meters and a height of 36 meters.. The height of the big minaret is 47 meters.. The Central Mosque of Almaty is an example of Timurid architecture.. The style is largely derived from Persian architecture.. Axial symmetry is a characteristic of all major Timurid structures..

I don’t know much about customs in Islam that’s why I was shy to enter the mosque.. I knew I had to cover my head, but then…should I wash my feet? Or should I recite a verse from Qur’an when entering?.. Not knowing the proper way of behaviour inside the mosque I decided to stay outside..

But an old man, who I guess noticed my confusion, came to me and with a kind smile invited me in.. I hurried to justify myself.. “I’m not a Muslim, I don’t know what to do there..” The old man said that it doesn’t matter and pushed me in.. One of the imams welcomed me.. He had a long beard, and as I call it, we had a beard connection.. We talked about their activities, such as lessons of reading Qur’an, calligraphy classes..

Even though the construction of the mosque was completed some 12 years ago, today the Central Mosque of Almaty is one the biggest Islamic cultural and spiritual centres of Kazakhstan.. And many young Muslims come here to learn the word of God..

More photos on Picasa:
http://picasaweb.google.com/harebeat/CentralMosqueAlmatyKazakhstan

P.S.
I highly recommend you to take a Virtual Tour to Central Mosque:
http://meshet.kz/VirtualTour/VirtualTour.swf

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6 thoughts on “Central Mosque of Almaty

  1. One glance at the architecture and I knew this was Timurid inspired! I love this particular type of architecture. One of the Timurid prince – named Babur – was the one who invaded India and founded the great Mughal empire. That’s why Timurid architecture is widespread in India, and they’re all so grand (with amazing attention to details).

    I’m happy to know that the old man found you in a state of confusion, otherwise you would’ve missed the opportunity to see the interiors of the mosque.

    “..beard connection.” 😀

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