Islamic religious buildings in the Tobolsk Province in the late 18th early 20th century 

Mavlyutova G.Sh.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, 4 (55)


              page 201211




A network of mosques in the Tobol Province (Western Siberia) in the end of the 18th beginning of the 20th century is analyzed. The source basis for the work was represented by legal enactments, statistical materials, and clerical documentation. The scientific methods were employed, including historicism, statistical, and comparative-historical analysis. By the Imperial Decree of 1744, mosques were to be located in places inhabited by only muslims. Moreover, each mosque should have had no less than 200 and no more than 300 male parishioners. The set limit on the number of parishioners restricted the ability of the muslims to build religious structures. This appeared to be a discriminatory regulation for the residents of small settlements. In the studied time, most of the mosques were located in the countryside. In 1828, towns had two mosques and in 1909 five. The total number of Islamic religious building was 137 in 1868 and 169 in 1909. In the meantime, muslim population had grown by one-and-a-half times. In general, the increase of the number of belivers is explained by the natural growth of the population. Besides, in the first half of the 19th century, there was a contunued migration of the population from Middle Asia, so called Bokharans. In the last third of the 19th century, there was a transit of the Volga and Cis-Urals Tatars. At that time, the number of the settlements inhabited by muslims changed insignificantly, from 260 in 1868 to 264 in 1909. Therefore, in the beginning of the 20th century, the mosques became more affordable for the population. During the studied period, the legal regulation on the limit of parishioners (no less than 200) was violated in building new religious houses. In 1868, there were on average 137 men per mosque in the countryside, and in the beginning of the 20th century 188. The local authorities permitted muslims to build mosques for even less that 100 parishioners. That could have been influenced by the position of the Provinces authorities, natural and landscape specifics, distance to the nearest mosque, and financial capabilities of the commune. In our opinion, the politics exercised by the regional authorities in the end of the 18th beginning of the 20th centuries were providing opportunity to the majority of the residents of the Tobol Province professing the Islamic faith to meet their spiritual needs. At the same time, the lack of religious houses precluded part of the practicing Islam from taking full part in the life of the religious commune, as well as from satisfying their religious needs, which was detrimental to their status.

Keywords: mosque, iconic building, Muslims, Orenburg Mohammedan Spiritual Assembly, tatars, Bokharan.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 16.09.2020

Article is published: 23.12.2021


Mavlyutova G.Sh., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail:,