The mosque in Kruszyniany. It is the oldest in Poland

It is a valuable example of Islamic construction. The mosque in Kruszyniany was built of wood. It is located in a picturesque region, in the municipality of Krynki in Podlaskie Voivodeship. Due to its historical values, it has been declared a historical monument.

The mosque was probably built in 1679. At that time, King Jan III Sobieski granted the Tatars lands near Krynki and Sokółka. It was a form of gratitude to the Tatars who fought against the Turks on the side of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, it was not the mosque you see in the photos. The present one was built in the second half of the 18th century or in the first half of the 19th century on the site of the first structure.

It is equally difficult to establish who financed the construction. It was probably the Krzeczowski family, who were among the wealthiest Tatar families in this part of the country. Later years bring more confirmed information. A plaque built into the foundation informs that the mosque was renovated in 1846. There were more renovations over the following decades, but the work was carried out in such a way as not to affect the original appearance of the building.

The mosque was built on a stone foundation on a rectangular plan. The mihrab, or niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca, is located in the south wall. There are two vestibules in the north and west elevations. The entire building is covered by a high triple-pitched roof. A small turret with a tin cupola dominates the mass. The wooden church has a green façade and its small size makes it look like a tiny village church or orthodox church.

The interior of the temple suffered during the Second World War. The Germans set up a hospital here, but looted its valuable furnishings.

The Kruszyniany mosque was declared a monument of history in 2012, “Bohoniki and Kruszyniany – mosques and mizars”. The decision was made by President Bronisław Komorowski. This is the highest form of conservation protection. Interestingly, two years earlier (16 March 2010), the mosque was visited by Prince Charles.

The commemorative postage stamp is also interesting. The Polish Post issued it on 28 April 2022. 90,000 pieces were printed and the stamp was designed by Jarosław Ochendzan. The stamp’s denomination was PLN 3.60.

photos: Mariusz Cieszewski, source: MFA

Read also: Sacred architecture | Monument | Wood | History | whiteMAD on Instagram

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