St Petersburg Mosque
The St Petersburg Mosque with two minarets decorated with multi-colored tiles was built by the architect Stepan Kirchinsky in 1912. The architect used the architectural forms of the Gur Emir Mausoleum of Tamerlane erected in Samarkand at the beginning of the 15th century.
It also bears certain features of the Northern Modern style. First and foremost, it is an austere stone facing of grey Tiurula gneiss and Kovantsaari granite finished in different techniques and therefore multicoloured. The building corners and a part of the southern facade are faced with rusticated slabs of Tiurula stone; its rocky texture brings out a gloomy dark-grey colour. The colour scheme of the grey Kovansaari granite facing most of the building changes from the deep grey of the unpolished slabs with uneven surfaces to the light grey of the smooth ones. Above the windows, smooth granite walls are decorated with oriental carvings. Small angular arches are cut in the granite. Two round medallions on the back facade are covered with sets of ornament-like Arabic letters; these are quotes from the Koran. Rather striking are the tall minarets faced with light-grey granite and decorated all over with carved ornaments shaped as large rhombi. The austere grey stone is complemented beautifully by colored majolica and porcelain. These colourful ornaments appear on the portal, as a carpet-like adornment on the walls of the northern and eastern facades, on the minaret towers and the cupola. They were created by a prominent ceramics artist Pyotr Vaulin at a small factory in the village of Kikerino near Gatchina; blue clay commonly found around the city and known as Cambrian was used. Large mosaic ornaments of the facades are made of porcelain. Fragments of an intricate oriental pattern have different shapes and feature colours typical for Style Moderne: blue, light blue, emerald-green, lilac, violet, pink and purple. The porcelain mosaic has kept very well until present. Unfortunately, convex majolica tiles in the cupola have proved more fragile and are beginning to flake.