The Ar-Rahma [Arabic for mercy] mosque, is not just the first and only one in Kyiv; it is also one of the largest in Europe. Rightly considered to be a real crown jewel of modern Islamic architecture, it is a part of the larger Islamic complex on Shchekavytsia Mountain. Built between 1996 and 2012, the complex sits at an iconic spot next to the remains of an ancient Muslim cemetery in an area populated by Muslims since earliest times.

Muslims in Ukraine have waited for a mosque for over 100 years, it is unsurprising that Ar-Rahma's opening was a momentous event. Attempts to build a mosque date back to 1897, when, according to official data, there were 1,759 Muslims, out of a total population of around 100,000, residing in the Ukrainian capital at that time.

By 1913, construction plans were ready and the first foundation stone was laid. However, the outbreak of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution and the World War II, postponed the dream of having a mosque in the capital of Ukraine for a long time. Construction was only resumed after Ukraine became independent. After obtaining land for construction, extensive legal preparation and work on project documentation, the long-desired
construction finally began in 1996 and was to last for 16 years.

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The mosque was built in stages. The construction was funded by Muslims of all ages and social groups as well as substantial financial contributions from the ambassadors of Islamic countries. Oleksandr Komarovsky, one of the city's famous architects, who also designed Independence Square, prepared the engineering project. After Komarovsky's death, the work was carried on by his colleague, the architect Serhiy Babushkin. Famous Muslim architects Riduan and Khoja Ahmad also acted as advisers during preparing of the project.

The mosque covers an area of 3,200 m2. The material for its decoration was delivered from Azerbaijan and the carpets for the prayer hall, which is over 1,000 m2, were sent from Turkey. The mosque has 3 halls containing 24 circular columns.

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The first hall is topped by a dome with a diameter of 6 meters and a height of 6 meters on top of which stands a crescent. The second hall has a lower dome, with a diameter of 22 meters and a height of about 3 meters.

In addition to these two, the complex has 7 more domes with a height ranging from 1 to 2.5 meters, all of which are covered with copper. The windows under the main domes are made of stained glass.

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The mosque has two mihrabs - special niches in the wall indicating the Qibla direction for namaz and two minbars - a platform from which the imam delivers his sermon. In the courtyard, there is a minaret - a tower to call believers to prayer. It is 27 meters high the top of which is reached by an internal spiral staircase consisting of 118 steps.

The mosque hosts events dedicated to Islamic religious holidays, on a regular basis. The "Aya Group" publishing house, the "Mplus" Muslim radio studio, the "Islamic Media" media center, the Quaran reading school, the Halal Certification Center, playgrounds, kindergarten, the "Al-Ishrad" school and Islamic University all operate on the territory of the "Ar-Rahma" Islamic complex. There is also a large Islamic library, containing Islamic literature translated into many languages.

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The mosque performs marriage rites (nikah), as well as Islamic healing (ruqya) and burial (jinazah) rituals. Every Friday there is a sermon - khutba and Jumu'ah Namaz.

One of the greatest treasures of the "Ar-Rahma" is a hair from the Prophet Muhammad, a sacred relic. Therefore, Muslims in Ukraine have the unique opportunity to seek blessing from a relic of the Righteous (tabbaruk) in their home country.

The mosque can accommodate about 3,000 people simultaneously and is open to everyone. There are free tours and lectures about Islam and, on Fridays, there is food distribution to those in need. At night, the complex is illuminated in green and looks particularly lovely.



How to get there: the most convenient routes to the Ar-Rahma Mosque are from the Kontraktova Ploshcha metro station by buses #417, #432 (or by trams #14, #18) to the "Solyana Street" stop, then take Lukyanivska street to Mount Shchekavytsia.

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