It all started in 1994.
The Temple of All Religions — or Center of Tolerance as some call it today — was created by a Russian philanthropist by the name of Ildar Khanov. Khanov, a social worker of sorts, said that he had seen an image of Jesus Christ instructing him to build a structure that welcomes all peoples. However, as his epiphany had occurred while he was still living in the U.S.S.R., he knew that realizing his plans would be impossible.
Fast forward to 1994. A few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ildar enlisted the help of his brother Ilgiz, and began laying out vast plans for the site. In addition to celebrating a variety of worldwide religions and beliefs, Ildar wanted to construct an orphanage, a rehabilitation center, and even an observatory.
Ildar died in 2013, but Ilgiz and a number of volunteers helped carry on Ildar’s munificent plans for the Temple of All Religions. The bizarre religious structure may not have quite the history of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain — the one that has been under construction for more than a century — but at least it’s a place open for folks of all beliefs to learn about one another.
When I visited this off-the-beaten-path landmark of weird architecture, it was May 2017. Apparently, a fire had broken out in the interior of the temple a few weeks prior, rendering it temporarily unable to be visited. However, I was able to get a shot of the entry parlor, as a worker had just entered:
According to Russiatrek.org, if you’re interested in visiting, take buses 2 or 45; if you can’t speak/read Russian, here’s a travel hack for ya: take a screenshot of the building and show it to the bus driver/a fellow passenger.
Are you also amused by unusual architecture?