The Temple of All Religions is one of the most unusual tourist attractions of Kazan. It is an architectural symbiosis of various religions, civilizations and cultures. This structure, also sometimes called the Universal Temple, or the International Cultural Center of Spiritual Unity, is located in the Staroye Arakchino Microdistrict, right by the side of the Volga River.
The Temple is a cascade of buildings combining a variety of architectural styles that belong to several very different cultures. Behind one fence there are an Orthodox church, a Catholic church, a Muslim mosque, a Judaic synagogue, a Buddhist shrine and a Chinese pagoda… The Temple is decorated by significant symbols of the religions of the world, as well as some symbols of lost civilizations!
The Temple is not a place of worship or a proper religious shrine, because no church services or religious ceremonies are held here. According to the creators’ intention, it was supposed to become a cultural center of Kazan – there would have been lectures on ancient history, musical performances, puppet shows. The Temple of All Religions was also designed to be a temporary asylum for people suffering from substance dependence and willing to overcome their condition.
The interior design of the complex is incredibly diverse. The Hall of Jesus Christ, the Hall of Buddha, the Catholic Hall, the Egyptian Hall, the theater room, the picture gallery, the tea parlor... The unusual building fits in perfectly with the landscape, and its colorful exterior design attracts attention and serves as a riverside decoration. The Universal Temple can be seen equally well both from vessels passing by down the Volga and from the windows of passing trains.
The construction of the Temple was commenced in 1994 by sculptor, architect, philanthropist and faith healer Ildar Khanov. At first he just collected contributions and constructed the building on his own piece of land – this idea occurred to him after his travels to Tibet and India. During those travels Khanov studied Oriental art, Buddhism, yoga, Tibetan and Chinese medicine. In 1989 he met famous painter Nikolas Roerich’s son Svyatoslav. He told him of his idea and, thus gaining a like-minded associate, began planning the construction together with him.
A single complex was supposed to unite 16 temples belonging to different religions, not only the existing ones but also the ones that vanished long ago – for instance, an ancient Assyrian church. The creators did not want to limit themselves to just religious structures, too. An ecology school, a sea club, an art school for children, a children’s music academy, a memorial, a rehabilitation facility for drug abusers… – the creators wanted to include all of these things! Unfortunately, the Temple was not finished within Khanov’s lifetime.
Bus numbers: 2, 45 to the Poselok Staroye Arakchino (Old Arakchino Village) stop
Electric suburb train: from Kazan-1 railway station to the Staroye Arakchino station