Tatar mosque, Kruszyniany
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The building is a unique example of an Islamic religious building made of wood which is still in use today. It has been granted the status of a monument of history due to its outstanding historical value (history and culture of the Polish Tatars).

History

The Kruszyniany mosque was erected after 1679 - the year when king John III Sobieski allocated the territories near Krynki and Sokółka to the Tatars. The first recorded mention of a Muslim temple in this location comes from 1782. It is certain that the mosque had already been in existence at the time, although its exact age remains unknown. According to the visiting priest who was tasked with creating a record of the local Catholic parish, the residents of Kruszyniany have failed to present an appropriate charter which would confirm their entitlement to maintain a mosque there; they have only made an oral statement that king John III Sobieski allowed them to erect their temple in this location. It is difficult to determine with any degree of precision what is the exact age of the existing structure. It appears that it may have been built during the 18th century, with the funds most likely being provided by the Krzeczowski family - one of the wealthiest Tatar families in these territories, who owned not just Kruszyniany, but also the villages of Górka and Łużany. In 1846, the building was thoroughly restored, as evidenced by the plaque embedded in the wall base. Numerous renovation works performed from the mid-19th century have fortunately resulted in no alterations insofar as the silhouette of the building is concerned, nor did they result in the fundamental replacement of the building materials. The conservation works were limited to the reinforcement of the foundations and the replacement of components of the building’s structure - the walls, the floors and the weatherboard cladding - which suffered damage due to fungal growth or insect infestation. Some of the components were replaced with new materials, although the original structure, architectural divisions and detailing have all been preserved. During World War II, the Germans have seized the mosque and used it as a field hospital; during this period, the valuable fixtures and fittings have lamentably been stolen by the Nazis.

Description

The mosque in Kruszyniany is located in the centre of the village, on the eastern side of a road running through the village. It is surrounded with a perimeter wall made of field stones bound with mortar, featuring an entrance gate in the western section as well as a wicket gate in the north-western corner. The mosque is a wooden log structure positioned on a low, stone foundation. It was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with a mihrab in the southern wall and a pair of rectangular porches adjoining the northern and western façades. The cuboid structure is topped with a tall, three-sided roof with a small, octagonal turret crowned with a bulbous cupola jutting from the roof ridge. The cupola is surmounted with a crescent symbol positioned on a tall, metal shaft. The front façade is preceded by a porch topped with a barrel roof, rectangular in shape and featuring a single window in each of its side walls as well as the double door leading into the narthex. The upper section of the front façade follows a three-axial layout, topped with a triangular gable flanked by a pair of quadrangular turrets serving the function of minarets. The turrets are crowned with octagonal, flattened cupolas surmounted by crescents. The roof of the mosque is clad with wood shingles, with the tower cupolas and roofs of both porches being covered with sheet metal.

The historical building is open to visitors.

Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 11-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Górska I., Meczety i mizary w Bohonikach i Kruszynianach pomnikami historii, “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego” 2013, issue 19, 2013, pp. 263-286.
  • Kalisz A., Oleksicki A., Kruszyniany. Studium historyczno-przestrzenne do planu zagospodarowania przestrzennego wsi Kruszyniany, Białystok 1980, pp. 22-23.

General information

  • Type: mosque
  • Chronology: XVIII/XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kruszyniany
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district sokólski, commune Krynki - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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