In the 16th Century prior to the invasion of Kazan a mosque stood here which was named after its leading teacher Qol Sharif. Qol Sharif died alongside his students trying to save the mosque from the Tsar’s forces, but unfortunately it was destroyed in 1522 and for centuries the site remained empty. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, with the help of many other counties including Saudi Arabia and UAE, the mosque was rebuilt, albeit in a modern style. The impressive new mosque was finally inaugurated in 2005 when Kazan celebrated its millennium and now stands as a prominent symbol of the city, rightly recognised as one of Kazan’s most worthy sights as well as Europe’s largest mosque. The Qol Sharif largely functions as a museum although thousands of Muslims do gather here to pray on major religious holidays.