Mukhtarov Mosque, Vladikavkaz

Mukhtarov Mosque (also called Sunni Mosque) is one of the most recognizable sights of Vladikavkaz, as evidenced by the many postcards, calendars and other souvenirs emblazoned with imprints of the mosque against a mountain backdrop.

The mosque was built in the early 20th century for local adherents of Islam, the predominant minority religion in North Ossetia. Like many mosques in Russia it would have been destroyed by the Soviets, yet in 1934 local Tatars armed themselves and successfully defended it. In 1960, Sunni Mosque came under full state protection, after which a branch of the local history museum was opened inside. It was not until 1996, however, that the house of worship was returned to the local Muslim community.

Today, Mukhtarov Mosque is an active mosque and a highlight of Vladikavkaz architecture.  A delicately carved structure, it appears to have been lifted from the pages of a fairy tale and is often likened to Cairo mosques of the 10th-12th centuries. Its interior, much of which was made using pure gold, impresses with a wealth of harmonious ornamentation and bright colors.

As a famous mosque in Russia and a tangible piece of the city’s past, Mukhtarov Mosque is definitely worth a visit if you are in Vladikavkaz!