These pictures show one of the most unusual temples in the world – built, the creator claims, on the orders of Jesus.
The ‘Temple Of All Religions’ incorporates multiple religions into its architecture, combining the design tropes of a Jewish synagogue, an Orthodox and Catholic church, a mosque, a Chinese pagoda, and a Buddhist temple as well as symbols of ancient religions.
It’s located in Staroye Arakchino, a district along the banks of the Volga River beside the Russian city of Kazan, which is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan.
The ‘Temple Of All Religions’, pictured above, incorporates multiple religions into its architecture
The temple integrates the architectural styles of a Jewish synagogue, an Orthodox and Catholic church, and a mosque, among others
The exterior of the temple – which is still under construction – is brightly coloured, with stained-glass windows, vivid mosaics, twirling Russian onion domes and a Greek Orthodox dome. Atop each dome is a gold symbol, ranging from stars of David to crescent moons.
Once inside, visitors wander through interconnected rooms with different religious themes, such as the Catholic and Egyptian halls, the ‘Hall of Jesus Christ’, a theatre and an art gallery.
The walls of the temple are embellished with portraits of Christian saints and Hindu murals, and tables of religious figurines feature in certain rooms.
The temple is located in Staroye Arakchino, a district beside the Russian city of Kazan
The late Russian artist Ildar Khanov began constructing the temple in 1994, enlisting the help of volunteers to carry out the build. Pictured on the left is a pillar decorated with a mosaic of Egyptian symbols inside the temple
Visitors can wander through interconnected rooms with different religious themes
The late Russian artist Ildar Khanov is behind the fascinating construction.
Khanov said Christ appeared to him in a dream, instructing him to dig a hole and build a universal temple. In 1994, he enlisted the help of volunteers in carrying out the build, and it slowly started to take shape over the next two decades.
Despite appearances, the temple was never intended as a place of worship.
In a 2012 interview with Le Figaro, he revealed that the aim behind the design was to bring all religions together, ‘to give them a meeting and communication place’.
‘The idea is not to merge into one all religions, each of which has its own history and cultural necessity,’ he said, adding: ‘It is not a place of worship, but of culture.’
Each room is embellished with tables of religious figurines or portraits, but despite appearances, the temple was never intended as a place of worship
Ildar Khanov said the aim behind the design was to bring all religions together, ‘to give them a meeting and communication place’
Ildar Khanov’s brother and sister took over the running of the temple after his death in 2013
Ildar Khanov died in 2013 aged 74, and his brother, Ilgiz, and sister, Flura Galeeva, took over the running of the temple. With the help of artists and volunteers, they are continuing to bring his vision to life as the construction continues.
They suffered a setback in 2017 when the decorative features inside the temple were damaged by a fire. However, work has been carried out in recent years to restore the building, and it continues to draw in tourists from around the world.
One Tripadvisor user, who visited the temple earlier this year, wrote: ‘The temple is very unusual. I cannot remember seeing such a building anywhere else – therefore I’m glad I’ve visited it. It’s on the very edge of kitsch, yet interesting.
With the help of artists and volunteers, the Khanov family are continuing to bring the late Ildar Khanov’s vision to life
‘Under one roof, you’ll see all religions – Islam, Orthodox, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhist, old Egyptian,’ observed one Tripadvisor reviewer
Pictured is the entrance. The entry fee to the temple is around £1 (100 rubles), and it is a 20-minute bus or taxi ride from the centre of Kazan
‘Under one roof, you’ll see all religions – Islam, Orthodox, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhist, old Egyptian… etc. Each Temple is decorated authentically and they’re all interconnected. Have in mind it is still under construction, and while wandering the interiors you’ll encounter several live workshops where enthusiastic artists are working on new decorations.’
A second reviewer wrote: ‘The brothers who have worked on its construction are geniuses (only one is still alive and I was privileged to meet him) – incredible visionaries and artists. The inside is chaotic and constantly under construction, but I felt such optimistic energy there.’
The entry fee to the temple is around £1 (100 rubles), and it is a 20-minute bus or taxi ride from the centre of Kazan.