On the territory of modern Ukraine the interaction between Christian and Muslim civilizations has more than a thousand years of history. It is generally believed that on these lands Khazars were the first Muslims. Islam began to spread in the Khazar Kaganate after the Arab-Khazar wars in the first half of the VIII century. Islam spreading among the Khazars reached its top in the 9th – 10th centuries, as described in the historical chronicles of Arab travelers and explorers (Ibn Hawqal 977–978, Al-Masoudi approx. 896–956, Ibn Fadlan 877–960) . Geographically, the Khazar Khaganate was situated on the lands of the modern North Caucasus, the Lower and Middle Volga regions, north-western Kazakhstan, the Azov Sea and the River Dnipro regions, as well as in the eastern part of the Crimean peninsula .
The fall of the Khazar Kaganate in the X century, and the further integration of the Khazar ethnic component into the Tatar ethnic group had an important impact on the Islam spreading in the Golden Horde. A letter from a Dutch writer Albert Pighius to Pope Clement VII describes Batu Khan as the first Ulus Jochi ruler who converted to Islam. The next Muslim khan was Berke . However, Islam became the state religion half a century later - in 1320 (1321) after Uzbek Khan. It marked the new era of the Tatar-Islamic geopolitical and cultural space formation on the lands that were part of the Golden Horde, particulary, in the territory of south-eastern Ukraine .
As a result of bloody wars and conflicts, since the twenties of the 15th century, the Golden Horde disintegrated, with the establishing of independent khanates. In 1441, with the election of Haji Giray I khan, the Crimean Khanate gained independence from the disintegrated Golden Horde; in the 1440s, the Nogai Horde finally withdraw from the Holden Horde. Further, these post-Golden Horde state formations had a significant influence on the Dnipro regions and on the Cossack hetmanats created here. .
The first information about Zaporizhzhya Sich dated back to the end of the 15th - first half of the 16th centuries . During those years, the Crimean Khanate was a consolidated state, occupying the territory of modern Crimea and southern regions of continental Ukraine. The borders of the Nogai Horde stretched from the Donetsk region to the Transcaucasus - right up to the shores of the Caspian Sea [7; 8].
In the 2nd half of the XVI - early XVII centuries Crimean Tatars and Nogais laid the main trading sakma to the Moscovia. It was called Muravsky Trail. The Zaporizhian Cossacks started regular contacts with the Tatar-Nogai hordes. These contacts consisted of both military confrontations and the military alliances as well. The first documented military alliance between the Cossacks and Tatars was an agreement concluded by Astafii Dashkovych, the Cherkasy starosta, and Mehmed Giray, the Crimean Khan, in 1521 - on a joint campaign against the Astrakhan and Kazan Khanates in order to win them back from the Moscow princes. Such campaigns were repeated in 1531 and 1535, but, in spite of individual tactical victories, did not bring strategic success. From historical sources we know about the trade relations between Zaporizhian Cossacks and Crimean Tatars. In the 1540s, a special representative of the Cossacks worked in Bakhchisarai. He monitored trade between Crimean Khanate and Sich . The regular military and trade interaction between the Crimean Khanate and the Zaporizhian Sich significantly affected the Zaporizhian Cossacks’ culture, which was reflected in language borrowings, smoking tobacco with a pipe-‘burulka’ (more correctly, “burunka”, from the Tat. Burun - nose, lüle - smoking pipe. - Auth.), clothing, and other aspects of life. A bright example of the long term neighborhood of the Zaporizhzhya Cossacks with the Ottoman State and the Crimean Khanate is depicting by the symbol of Islam - the crescent on the Zaporizhzhya Sich’s gonfanons along with other religious signs.
Since the second half of the XVIII century, as a result of the military-imperialist policy of the Russian government, the relations of the Crimean Khanate and the Sich had been ceasing. In 1775, Empress Catherine II signed the manifesto “On the Extermination of Zaporizhya Sich . In 1783 the final annexation of the Crimea to the Russian Empire took place, after a long military campaign of the Russian troops .
During the Russian Empire’s period, the first mention of the Muslim population in the southern and eastern parts of the current territory of Ukraine during the Russian Empire belongs to the end of XVIII century. 75 Turks, 43 Tatars and 6 Arabs (124 Muslims in total) were living in the Azov province, created by the tsarist government after the Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774, 75 [12, pp. 145-180]. In 1783 the Azov province became the part of the Katerynoslav governorate. And in 1803 the Katerynoslav province was formed with its center in Katerynoslav (modern Dnipro. - Ed.) . Very little information is known about the first Muslims of the new-established principal town of the province. It is believed that these were Turkish and Crimean Tatar merchants, but the documentary evidence of them was not preserved.
An important phase in the spread of Islam on the territory of the former ‘Dyke Pole’ region (Wild Field – transl.) is large-scale industrialization in the 2nd half of the XIX century After the discovery of iron ore deposits, coal deposits, mines and factories building, the lack of labor was compensated by Tatar immigrants from the Middle and Lower Volga regions . Therefore, the Volga Tatars formed the basis of the "Mohammedan mahalla" in the Katerynoslav governorate.
The first shreds of evidence about Muslims in Katerynoslav dated back to 1865: They were 15, that is 0.066% of the city inhabitants. According to the first All-Russian census survey of 1897, 17,253 Tatars (0.8% of the governorate’s population) and 5555 Turks (0.26% of the governorate’s population) lived in Katerynoslav governorate. At the time of the census, there were: 726 Tatars (0.64% of the city inhabitants) and 159 Turks (0.14% of the city inhabitants) in Katerynoslav . In 1910, the Muslim community of Katerynoslav numbered 596 people [16, pp. 51–56].
The data shows over the last third of the XIX century the Muslim community of Katerynoslav had significantly increased and, as a result, needed a preaching house - a mosque. The information about the first Mohammedans’ prayer house is attributed to the beginning of the XX century. In 1904, it was located in the Petrovs' house in Voskresenska Street, and in 1910 - in Klubna Street. It is known the Muslim community of Katerynoslav had significant capital and influence, so they were able to build a mosque. The “Society for the Muslim Mosque Construction" was established in 1909-1910; the site was chosen within the Old Kut sloboda - at the crossroads of Khersonska and Velyka Bazarna streets. A small Tatar settlement is believed to live there . There are indications that Muslims settled close together in the town, but this fact had not been conclusively confirmed. In 1911, the mosque construction works were finished, as evidenced by the record in the reference book ‘Ves Ekaterinoslav’ (“ All over Katerynoslav”) published in 1912. In this book the mosque construction dated 1911. It is indicated that it was built on the private land of the religious community . In February 1912, the Muslim community asked the city authorities for an additional plot - 30 sazhen’ (approx. 132 m2. - Auth.), required to install the stairs . The “Society for the Muslim Mosque Construction” was also operating the next year that was mentioned in the ‘Dniprovi Khvyli’ magazine - No. 8 dated 1913, which means that the construction works had been completed only by 1913–1914 .
The new mosque stood out against other buildings: it was the only building in the town, built in the Moorish style. It had oriental decorations: windows of irregular forms, carved stone imitations, black and white lining - a “neo-Moorish” style, popular at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Katerynoslav Muslim community also had a private place in the New City Cemetery (in the southern part of the current Pisarzhevsky park - Author). It has not been preserved, though.
The activities held by Muslim community were periodically reflected in the local press, as evidenced by the publication in the annual book "Ves Ekaterinoslav" of the Mohammedan calendar with the main Muslim holidays [21 C. 261-265] and images of the mosque. There is an illustrative article in ‘Katerinoslavski gubernski vedomosti’ (Katerynoslav Province’s News) - No. 98 of 1916: “Peasant of the Penza Province of Kerensky district Gorenki village Gadіatulla Kharisov Bekіyashev, according to the election of his co-religionists, was approved as muadzin of the Cathedral Mosque in Katerynoslav. "
With the beginning of World War I, the "Turkish citizens" were forced to leave the city that became the first attack on the "mahalla". However, it is known that prayers were still offered afterwards.
The Muslim community faced the crucial moment in their history when Bolsheviks came to power. The decision of the executive committee of Dnipropetrovsk district dd. July 20, 1926, stated: “The Turkish mosque is not used by any religious community” [22, p. 69]. And in May 1927, on the basis of inspection act on the former Tatar mosque, the Executive Committee of Dnipropetrovsk resolved: “The house of the former Tatar mosque shall be given to the GPU (State Political Administration); Tatar families who live in the mosque shall be provided with dwellings” . The same year, the Marten magazine posted a photo of the mosque entitled: “The mosque along in Kherson Street has been boarded up for a long time. In order to use the empty premises, the City Council decided to transfer the mosque to a club for police and GPU workers ”. There is no evidence that the club was opened or the former mosque was being used in the 30s.
After World War II, the premises of the former mosque were used as the artel’s cardboard shop of the Regional cooperative polygraph and the kindergarten No. 15. They were situated on different floors. In December 1953, a sports school for children and youth moved there. The building was completely reconstructed and now it’s almost impossible to recognize the former “Mohammedan prayer house” .
Shamil (Semen) Rumygin, special for "Islam in Ukraine"
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