Building the Muslim religious structures in the Tobolsk Province in the late 18th early 20th century

Mavlyutova G.Sh.




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Analyzed herein is the state politics in the area of building the Muslim religious structures in the Tobolsk Province at the end of the 18th beginning of the 20th century. The source basis of the work was represented by the statutory and regulatory acts, clerical correspondence retrieved from the state archives, and pictorial materials. In this work, historical-comparative analysis, methods of historicism, induction and deduction were employed. During the period in question, more than a hundred of Muslim religious objects were functioning in the Tobolsk Province. The regulation of their building started in the second third of the 20th century. Three parties were participating in the process of obtaining a permit for the erection of mosques: gubernia (province), okrug (county), and volost (district) administration-police bodies and officials; the high clerical body of the Muslims of the European Russia and Siberia Orenburg Muslim Spiritual Assembly; and the religious community ummah. The interaction between them on the matter of building a mosque could take several years. The decision on the erection of Muslim religious objects was taken by the state authorities. Often, in the case of a discrepancy in the number of believers in the ummah (no less than 200 men), the regional authorities permitted erection of mosques. They softened their stance on this matter. In the Tobolsk Province, at the end of the 18th beginning of the 20th centur, the mosques were predominantly wooden. There were only few Muslim religious structures in the region built of brick. Mosques in the Province were erected at the expense of members of the ummah and donations of benefactors. We suggest that the makority of the religious structures were built not as template projects, but as the projects specially designed and approved by public officials. One of the features of their exterior was position of the minaret on the roof of the mosque. Also noteworthy are the dimensions of the prayer hall. It was relatively small, with two to five windows on each side. That depended on the needs of the ummahs. On average, the service life of the wooden mosques was 5060 years. Subsequently, due to the lower durability of timber as a building material, the Muslim religious objects required capital repair or erection of a new structure.

Keywords: mosque, Muslims, Muslim community, tatars, Bokharan, Orenburg Mohammedan Spiritual Assembly.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 29.09.2021

Article is published: 15.12.2022


Mavlyutova G.Sh., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Chervishevskiy trakt, 13, Tyumen, 625008, Russian Federation, E-mail:,