Authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya on Friday inaugurated the largest mosque in Europe in a ceremony attended by local and foreign officials.
With an area of 9,700 square meters, the marble-decorated mosque has capacity for more than 20,000 people and has been described by the Chechen authorities as the "largest and most beautiful" mosque in Europe.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said the mosque — located in Shali, a town of 54,000 just outside the regional capital Grozny — was "unique in its design, and majestic in its size and beauty".
The mosque's grounds, planted with flowers and sprinkled with fountains, can host an additional 70,000 worshippers, local authorities said.
In 2008, Kadyrov unveiled the "Heart of Chechnya", a mosque with a capacity of 10,000 worshippers in Grozny, a city that had been ravaged by two wars between Moscow and separatists after the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.