The mosque in Novogrudok

 One of the most ancient, picturesque and beautiful towns of Belarus is rightly considered to be Novogrudok where among the abundance of Orthodox temples replenishing the gold fund of the Belarusian architecture, in the country part of the modest Lenin Street, a true curiosity majestically stands – a mosque in Novogrudok. This structure has appeared there not for nothing. There are reliable data according to which Tartars settled actively on that territory in the XVIII century and lived there up to the XX century. But they began to construct their sanctuaries in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania much earlier: it is believed that since the XIV century, a lot of mosques have been constructed in different corners of the large country; many of them have perfectly survived and still function attracting tourists. During the period of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the king permitted the construction of mosques; in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, that right was given to the Vilno bishop.

The mosque in Novogrudok is one of the most ancient Tartar sanctuaries in Belarus. It appeared in the XVI century approximately on the same site where it is today. In times gone by, the building had a special annex through which women could get to the mosque. The new building gradually fell into a state of neglect and then the leader of the mosque requested the town authorities to construct a new sanctuary that was built with lightning speed and officially opened in 1855. In photographs of the time, the mosque stands on a massive basement made of stone with shingle roofing that in other photos made later has become leaky. It was not surprising that the building required repairs that were carried out in the 30s of the last century: the roof was coated with zinc and the window frames were changed. There was a religious school for a long time, established on the basis of the mosque, but later it was closed.

After the Second World War, the mosque fell into decay in Novogrudok: divine services were not held for a long period, the doors were heavy locked. Some time later, the mosque became an ordinary house. In the 90s of the last century, the mosque was fully restored by using the funds of believers and still functions. Its official opening was timed to the memorial date – the 600th anniversary of the settlement of Tartars in the territory of Belarus. The mosque of Novogrudok has unshowy architecture and the sanctuary looks like an ordinary Tartar house. It has no tent decorating mosques. The sanctuary has a tiny dome.

The mosque in Novogrudok is a Tartar sanctuary of a great value that is rightly inscribed on the List of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Belarus. Tourists from different corners of the country come to Novogrudok district to look at the mosque that has survived up to now through many centuries. The mosque in Novogrudok demonstrates how Belarusians respect religions of other nationalities.