Inclusion has never looked so good as it does in a multicultural Russian city where an eccentric architect and psychic healer dedicated 20 years to building a structure that represented all the world’s theologies.
Ildar Khanov claimed that Jesus Christ appeared to him on the banks of the Volga River in the city of Kazan in 1994 and ordered him to begin construction on what is now called the Temple of All Religions. “Ildar, wake up tomorrow at six in the morning, take a shovel and start to build the foundations for a temple for all religions,” Khanov claimed he was told.
For two decades, Khanov and his volunteer assistants lived inside the site as they constructed the building. Neon greens, yellows, and blues of stained glass, mosaics, and painted domes stand out against the forested background landscape. The 16 minarets, spires, and cupolas are intended to signify each of the world’s major religions, and each has a Christian cross, Star of David, Chinese dome or Muslim crescent. The words “Peace,” “Freedom,” “Brotherhood,” and “Solidarity,” are inscribed on the outer walls in a variety of languages.