Reviews

This beautifully published and richly illustrated book (with some engravings and numerous ancient and recent photographs, black and colour), by two leading figureheads of modern local and regional history of the Middle Volga region, is devoted to the neighbourhoods (mahallas) of the city of Kazan and their places of worship, from the reign of Catherine ii to the early twentieth century—with a strong predominance of constructions of the 1880s to 1910s.  Based on substantial archive material and on writings by late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Tatar historians (Marjani, Nasiri, Fakhr al-Din, Amirkhan), the volume is divided into short monographic paragraphs on individual mosques of: (1) the ‘old’ Tatar suburb (sloboda); (2) the ‘new’ Tatar suburb; and (3) Tatar suburbs located on the opposite bank of the Kama River.  Each provides information on the circumstances of the construction of the mosque, with details on the negotiations with the city Duma of Kazan from the 1860s onwards, on the financing of the building and its successive restorations, and on the role of its respective sponsors and imams up till the closures and destruction of the mid-1930s.  Though addressed to a large audience and almost deprived of a critical apparatus (beside footnotes with short, elliptic mentions of archive funds and documents), this book proposes a captivating collection of studies on the architecture and social history of local places of worship in a period marked by their unprecedented expansion in the Middle Volga region.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-4.3-362