7 MOSCOW buildings
inspired by eastern
Text by Artem Ladeyshchikov
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ivan Erofeev
From Chinese decorations to Islamic symbols and Turkish mosaics, the Eastern architectural style does not go amiss in Moscow. QRM lists some of the most noticeable buildings inspired by Eastern culture in the country.
1. Perlov Tea House
This building was created for a wealthy tea trader Sergey Perlov who always wanted to build a tea and coffee store in the centre of Moscow. The first version of the building looked simple and did not have many Chinese decorative elements in it. All of them were added six years later because Perlov wanted to impress a visiting trader from China. He did not sign the contract with the trader, but the building’s unusual style attracted local citizens, consequently making the store one of the most popular in Moscow.
2. Moscow Cathedral Mosque
The modern building of the mosque was completed in 2015. The old mosque in its place was built in 1904 and was one of the few religious centres that remained open under the USSR — however, it became too dilapidated throughout the years and had to be demolished. There are several floors inside the mosque: some of them are used only for praying, while others are occupied by conference rooms and the Islamic museum. Seven elevators function inside the mosque, so it can be visited by people with special needs. The inner space of the building is decorated with Canadian marble, while the walls are covered with verses from the Quran made by Turkish masters.
Vypolzov pereulok, 7
3. House of Shamsi Asadullayev
The construction of this building was funded by oil trader Shamsi Asadullayev, whose goal was to create a cultural centre for muslims of Moscow. The building served many purposes throughout the 20th century: there was a school inside the house, a typography that produced newspapers in Tatar language, a place for muslim youth gatherings and much more. Both inside and outside decorations of the building are inspired by Islamic architecture which is especially noticeable if looking at the shapes of windows, arches and doors. The building serves as a muslim centre even today: lessons and meetings still take place here.
Maliy Tatarsky pereulok, 8
4. The Old Mosque of Moscow
The first version of this mosque looked like an ordinary building because the authorities of Moscow in the 19 century did not want it to have any Islamic decorative elements. The permission to decorate the mosque was granted almost 50 years later. Dmitriy Pevnetskiy modified the building, mixing both classical and Arabic architectural elements. Now the mosque is still open, constantly participating in different charity activities. It even has an electronic madrasa for people that cannot visit the mosque physically, but still want to learn the fundamentals of Islam.
Bolshaya Tatarskaya, 28
5. Freedom Plaza business centre
This historical building used to be occupied by public baths from 1912 to 1990s. Little evidence remains about what the original interiors looked like — possibly, the walls were covered with luxurious tiles, while the stairs were decorated with wrought-iron. The building was reconstructed and rented by a business centre in the beginning of the 21st century. Unfortunately, the rich interiors of the building did not live till this day, but the decorations of the outside remained. The style was influenced by the Moorish architectural style — an approach inspired by Arabic culture. It was popular among the architects of western Europe.
6. Arseny Morozov House
A very eclectic building, Morozov house was created by Victor Mazyrin for his millionaire friend, Arseny Morozov. The complex, artsy combination of many architectural styles shocked both relatives of Morozov and ordinary citizens. Even Leo Tolstoy pointed out the catchy style of the building in one of his books. Still, now the building is considered to be one of the important cultural monuments of Moscow. Its appearance was inspired by different approaches: modern, Moorish revival, Empire and Barocco.
7. Yardam Mosque
This Sunni mosque is interesting due to its location. It is a part of a large religious complex in North-East of Moscow, where all the main religions of the city are represented. For example, the mosque shares its roof with another Shia mosque, while there’s also a Russian Orthodox temple and a synagogue nearby.
Hachyaturyana street, 8