The Kebir-Jami Mosque is the most brilliant place of interest, the oldest building in Simferopol. It is believed that due to the color of the walls of the monument facade of Simferopol, its architecture received its first name “The White Mosque”.
The Kebir-Jami in the Russian translation means “The Cathedral”. This name is justified by the whole main Crimea mosque.
According to what has been preserved to this day, according to the inscription of the entrance of the building, the mosque was built in 1508 by Hadzhi Abdurahim-Beck. But in the early 1990’s, during the rebuilding of the junta, it was found that there was another opening date of the mosque made in 1502 (or 914 according to the chronology of Muslims). The Arabic script is written on the label: “This mosque was built for the glory of the power of Khan Mengli I Giray, Allah who forgives all the sins of himself and his children in the month of Muharram in the year 914.” the exact date of the Kebir-Jami construction is still under discussion.
The decoration of the Kebir-Jami is very simple. The facade of the building is made with clean lines that have no luxury, there is a small balcony and the roof is covered with tiles. From the beginning the mosque was only a dome, but during one of the reconstructions it was removed. The mosque has a short minaret made of limestone more or less worked. It is crowned by a minaret with a crescent cone. The whole mosque is painted with white lime.
The Kebir-Jami was rebuilt and repaired many times due to the fires, its appearance changed a little. One thing has remained constant: Kebir-Jami has always been the center of the Crimean Muslim community. After the revolution, the mosque has continued functioning.
After the Second World War, Kebir-Jami was closed for political reasons and was in ruins for many years. Later the building was used as a binding workshop. Only after the expulsion of the Tatars from Crimea, the mosque of the peninsula was renewed, the same returned to the Muslim community. However, a major restoration began in 1991, the Kebir-Jami literally had to be rebuilt from the ruins, which have remained intact only two meters high from the wall. The work continued for a long time. Only in 2009 it was restored.
For tourists the Kebir-Jami is open on a certain day, but during the reading of the prayer it is not necessary to introduce the curiosity, for not to interfere with the faithful. At the entrance you have to remove your shoes, and the women should put a handkerchief on the head. Before taking pictures at the house, it is necessary to ask permission from the Imam, who is likely to refuse.
Today, Kebir-Jami is the main Friday mosque on the whole peninsula, where the Mufti residence and the Spiritual Administration of Crimean Muslims are located. Nearby is the madrasa and the library, which stores a large amount of literature in the Crimean Tatar language.
But the mosque that is the largest in Europe is located in Moscow and can be visited with guided or independent excursion.