Two beautiful official cards from Russia.
The Saint Petersburg Mosque, when opened in 1913, was the largest mosque in Russia, its minarets attaining 49 meters in height and the impressive dome rising 39 meters high. The mosque is situated in downtown St Petersburg, so its azure dome is perfectly visible from the Trinity Bridge across the Neva. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers.
The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian capital exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. Its construction was completed by 1921.
Worshippers are separated by gender during a worship service; females worship on the first floor, while the males worship on the ground floor. - in: wikipedia
Photo by Kirill Sokolov
In Russia there are plenty of churches, fortified hermitages, well-preserved military fortresses and ancient manors of the nobility but castles are quite a rare architectural feature. However in the Vladimir region, there's a medieval French chateau, the Muromtsevo Castle.
Legend has it that the Russian nobleman Vladimir Khrapovitsky was travelling through France in the late 19th century when he met a French lord whom he bet he could build a castle of equal grandiosity in Russia. So he bought a chucnk of land outside of Vladimir, hired some of best artisans and architects in Russia and well, built a castle. The Frenchman reportedly even came to see the castle. For the last decade of the century and into the 20th century, the castle was known as one of the most exquisite in western Russia. A pond, stables, theatre, pavilion and other luxuries were added over the years.
Eventually the Russian Revolution came and castle-type folks weren’t exactly welcome anymore and the Khrapovitskys fled abroad, eventually dying in ruin. The castle then served as a forest college (not a bad place to learn!) and served as a hospital during the Great Patriotic War, before finally falling into obscurity during the end of the Soviet period. The only restoration to date, has been a new roof put on by a German company, but that’s it. The castle remains a a laregly untouched relic just sitting there in the forests. - in: http://www.moscowsurvival.com/wordpress/golden-ring/muromtsevo-castle