Spread of Islam throughout the region of the North Caucasus began from the city of Derbent. It is here that the tombs of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Russia's oldest mosque are situated.
The history of Islam in the Caucasus is filled with glorious and tragic events. The peoples living in the region have managed not only to preserve but also to expand the heritage of their ancestors by renovating the old mosques and building new ones in local cities and villages.
Main information about the district Area (km2) 170 439 Population, 2019 9 867 377 Administrative center Pytigorsk
Heart of Chechnya
The Heart of Chechnya or Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque was opened in 2008. The mosque was built in a classic Ottoman style. The exterior and interior walls are decorated with marble. The mosque was painted by the Turkish painters. The pattern represents "bustam", the traditional Chechen ornaments. 36 lusters are installed inside the mosque, representing the shapes of three Islamic religious objects: 27 lusters are made the form of Qubbat al-Sakhrah shrine in the Old City of Jerusalem, 8 lusters are made the form of The Prophet's Mosque in Medina, and the largest one 8-meter luster is made in the form of Kaaba in Mekka.
Paradise under Mothers' Feet
Aimani Kadyrova Mosque was named after the mother of the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. The mosque is located in Argun. It is the first Russian mosque built in hi-tech style. The mosque changes its colors depending on weather from light-gray to turquois-blue.
"From heart to heart" marathon preceded the opening ceremony. More than 5,000 people from Chechnya and other North Caucasus Republics ran 16 kilometers from the Heart of Chechnya Mosque in Grozny to Aimani Kadyrova Mosque in Argun
Light of a Mosque
The half-moon-shaped luster is an outstanding piece of decoration of Aimani Kadyrova Mosque. The luster that weights 5 tons and is of 31 meters in diameter illuminates the main prayers hall.
Gamsutl Village Ghosts
This mountain village is one of the most ancient settlements in the territory of the Republic of Dagestan. Gamsutl changed the religion three times. Islam was brought here to replace Zoroastrianism and Christianity. The doors of the mosque still preserve Arabic inscriptions. An ancient tombstone was founded near the village. The tomb also contains the ancient inscriptions. To read them, the tomb was moved to Iran. The scientist found out that the inscriptions on the 2000-year-old tomb had been made in ancient Iranian language.
Gates to all Gates
Derbent is the gates through which Islam has penetrated into the territory of Russia. This more than 2000-years-old city is one of the most ancient ones in the world. The first mosques were built here. Many Dagestan people accepted the new religion in Derbent. Naryn-Kala citadel that raises 340 meters above the sea level and occupies the area of 4.5 hectares is the main legacy of Derbent. Naryn-Kala citadel like many other architectural monuments of Derbent is included into UNESCO World Heritage List.
Juma Mosque in Derbent
The Juma Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Russia in the CIS. It was built in AH 115 (733/4). The mosque is situated in the historical quarter of Derbent. It withstood the ravages of time and remained its perfect state. The last Arabic inscription above the central entrance states the following, "Come here with peace and eupathy."
Four century-year-old planes are the priceless treasure of the mosque, making this place recognizable from any point of the city. The Juma Mosque is included into UNESCO World Heritage List.
The vault of the Juma Mosque is supported by forty square columns placed in two rows and dividing the space into three premises. From 1938 to 1943 the reconstructed building was used as a city prison. In 1943, by the order from Moscow, the mosque was returned to the clergymen to be used as intended.
The Juma Mosque also includes a madrasa, consisting of a number of similar premises for the students.
The frontage of madrasa is performed in a form of balconies with ogival vaults from dressed stone, serving as the entrances to the premises.
Kyrhlyar Cemetery in Derbent houses one of the most respected Muslim sacred places, a tomb of the first forty Arab shahid warriors killed for their belief at the end of the VII century. They were the first who promoted Islam in the North Caucasus.
Central Juma Mosque in Makhachkala
The Central Juma Mosque in Makhachkala is one of the biggest in Europe. It was constructed in collaboration with Turkish craftsmen in the image of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. However, the mosque in Makhachkala is completely white unlike its prototype.
Hurry up for Prayer
Initially the Central Juma Mosque was rather small in size. Only 7,000 believers could pray Namaz there. After the reconstruction, the halls of the Juma Mosque can accommodate about 15,000 people.
At the Foot of Elbrus
The mosque in Bedyk village is located in a picturesque place surrounded by the high mountains. The mosque has been built in 1999 and can host more than 100 people. The mosque looks large and airy, as it is standing on a hill. The local Balkars regularly visit the prayers, admiring the landscape created by Allah on their way to the mosque.
Mosque in Kobu-Bashi Village: talking to mountains
The mosque is located is the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, where the main ancient cradles of ancient Alan civilization and the earliest local cultural monuments of Muslims are concentrated.
Mosque in Teberda
There are more than 130 mosques in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic at the moment. In 2008, a new mosque was opened in Teberda resort town predominantly inhabited by Karachay people.
Stars at Domes
The mosque in Uchkulan reminds the mosques that have been destroyed by the Soviet government.
At the end of XIX-beginning of XX century, Uchkulan housed a school with a dormitory and five mosques. Many mosques were destroyed following the deportation of Karachay people to the Central Asia.
Islam rapidly penetrated to the territory of Ingushetia in 17-18th centuries from Kabarda, Dagenstan, and Chechnya, creating a solid base for the spiritual life of Ingush people. Today, there are about 100 mosques in the Republic and this number is growing year after year.
Green Buds of a Mosque
The mosque in Sunzha town is a two-story building for more than 1000 believers. The Head of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov said at the opening ceremony, "I have visited almost all mosques in the Republic, but I have never seen such a beautiful and gorgeous mosque as this one."
Born in the mountains
"Nobody is perfect. But religion like Islam is. When people investigate me, they investigate my religion as well, as I am a Muslim. If somebody makes a mistake, I will give him another chance." Khabib Nurmagomedov
Mosque is waiting…
Local citizens regularly visit the new mosque, and it waits for them. The interiors were painted by the best Turkish craftsmen. Synthetic and natural paints with special additives were used to complete the job. The solution will help to preserve the color of patterns for the next decades.
Russian Muslims try not only to build a mosque but to turn it into the most beautiful place to let the body and soul find sanctuary there.
It is a kind of symbolism, as a human should be beautiful inside and outside.
Central Cathedral Mosque in Ekazhevo
Ekazhevo is a large village in Ingushetia, where one of the Republic's largest mosques is situated. It can accommodate about 4,500 people. In was built instead of one that had been burnt away in January 2006. The locals raised funds to construct the new mosque. The new mosque was opened in June 2010. It is a three-story building 60x18 meters with the minarets of 46 meters height. It is the largest building in the nearest surroundings.
Sunni Mosque in Vladikavkaz
The Sunni Mosque in Vladikavkaz is the most recognizable symbol of the city. It is located on the left bank of the Terek River. It was built in 1908. The architecture and interiors are similar to those of Egypt in X-XIII centuries. The mosque was used as intended till 1933. Then it was used as a branch of the State regional ethnography museum of the North Ossetia. Today, the mosque is a federal monument of the 1st category. In 1992, the locals backed by the federal authorities obtained the right to use it as intended.
The Prophet's Heritage
In recent years, Russian mosques host exhibitions that familiarize people with the history of Islam, in particular, with the items associated with the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him.)
Holiday as a Cause
Russian Muslims treat very carefully with their heritage. In particular, they celebrate both religious and traditional holidays. In some regions two great feasts of Islam, namely Ramadan Bayrami and Kurban Bayrami, are public holidays.
Take Care of Women
Woman is something special in Islam. She is a mother, a daughter, a wife, and a sister. Today, many young women from the North Caucasus wear traditional clothing, suggesting their nationality and marital status.
Friendship of Peoples
Dozens of peoples live in the Caucasus with various languages and traditions, even if they live in the neighboring villages. For example, from the dawn of time, Dagestan has been inhabited by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Caucasian dance is one of the most vivid elements of regional culture. Lezginka is a very symbolic dance rooted in the legend about the swan and the eagle.