This fascinating architectural complex is located in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a Russian province, over 50% populated by Tatars, about 500 miles east of Moscow in Russia.
The city of Kazan is a crossroads between Islam and Christianity and it was the seat of the Kazan Khanate in the 15th century. Kazan is a beautiful city with rich history and is one of the oldest Russian cities. It is the third most popular travel destination among Russian cities just behind Moscow and Saint Petersburg. One of its main tourist attractions is the gigantic architectural complex, the Temple of All Religions, also known as the Universal Temple.
The Temple of All Religions has elements of all religions in its colorful design and construction. It combines the religious motifs of different branches of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions.
It was built by a Russian architect, artist, and healer Ildar Khanov. He said that Jesus Christ appeared to him and ordered him to begin construction of a universal temple near his father’s old house. He reportedly appeared to him and told him “you will get up at dawn, you will take a shovel in the shed, and you will start building a universal temple”. According to Ildar Khanov, all the religions are isometric and that is why there is no point in dividing them and performing religious disputes.
It began in 1994 and still proceeds on charitable donations today. Ildar Khanov, known for his efforts in the treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, and various other diseases, managed to build the temple with donations from the people he healed, while patients he treated for drug addictions also helped with the construction.
As Nina Strochlic wrote for the Daily Beast, “For two decades, Khanov and his volunteer assistants lived inside the site as they constructed the building. Neon greens, yellows, and blues of stained glass, mosaics, and painted domes stand out against the forested background landscape. The 16 minarets, spires, and cupolas are intended to signify each of the world’s major religions, and each has a Christian cross, Star of David, Chinese dome or Muslim crescent. The words “Peace,” “Freedom,” “Brotherhood,” and “Solidarity,” are inscribed on the outer walls in a variety of languages”.
Reportedly, Khanov survived on minimal sleep – about two hours a day. He spent three hours in meditation and had only one meal a day.
Unfortunately, Ildar died in February 2013 at the age of 73 and did not live to see the completion of the temple, but his ideas continue to live on and the Temple of All Religions has become a popular landmark in the city of Kazan.