Main Mosque (1902-03), North Facade, Perm', Russia


This view of the main mosque (Sobornaia mechet') in Perm' was taken in 1999 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Situated on the middle reaches of the Kama River, Perm’ is a city of many ethnic groups and faiths. The Tatar community is among the oldest, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it participated in a religious and cultural renaissance among Tatars in the Russian Empire. As a result of this upsurge, the Perm’ community received permission in 1901 to build a mosque in the Tatar district, and basic work on the imposing, elaborately ornamented brick structure was completed in 1903. Construction funds were provided by local Tatar merchants. The design, by Aleksandr I. Ozhegov, belongs to the Moorish Revival style, with massive rustication in white on a green background and crenellation along the cornice. A large metal dome rises on a cylinder above the main worship space. The dominant feature is the soaring minaret, flanked at its base with four cupolas and surmounted with a spire and crescent. The mosque was closed and converted into a state archive in 1938. In 1990, the mosque was returned to the community and restored for worship and educational purposes.

Last updated: January 11, 2016