From the 17th-19th centuries, Kazan suffered from six serious fires that spread rapidly through the primarily wooden city, burning houses, shops, and religious structures down to the ground. Stone mosques were constructed regularly beginning only in the 1880s.
When one of the regularly occurring fires destroyed the wooden mosque that stood on the corner of Poperechno-Ekaterinskaya Street, the fur trader and merchant Mukhametsadyk Burnaev acquired the newly vacant plot of land. In 1872, he had a one-story, red brick mosque built on this space. The architect Peter Romanov oversaw construction of the mosque, although responsibility for the minaret, erected in 1895, belonged to Kazan diocesan and provincial architect Fyodor Malinovsky (who the previous year built the Church of St. Barbara) and provincial engineer Leo Khrshchnovich (who built Kazan’s Lutheran Church).
Although his merchant family was not as famous as that of the Yunusov dynasty, Burnaev continued the family tradition of doing good deeds, which was passed on from generation to generation. In 1769, Mukhametsadyk’s great grandfather, merchant and landowner Ibragim Burnaev, built a stone mosque in his native village of Lower Bereska.
For a long time, Mukhametsadyk could not find a worthy imam who could work with the local community for a consistent amount of time. The first imam, Shigabutdin Fakhrutdinov, could not find a common language with parishioners and was rumored to have behaved in a not very dignified manner. Burnaev built a house for and began paying the salary of Salakhutdin Iskhakov (the chief mentor of Galimdzhan Galeev, the future founder of Mukhammadiya madrassa), but he quit the job after only a couple of months. Only the fourth imam, Shakir Kuleev, who began working in 1881, remained committed to his post for a long time, serving in the mosque until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
Elements of medieval Tatar, Russian, and eastern architecture can be seen in the mosque’s design, which combined different classical techniques to produce a rather eclectic style. Such a peculiar approach was common for mosques at that time, all of which were built by non-Muslim architects. The minaret of Burnaev Mosque is vaguely reminiscent of the bell tower of the Cathedral of the Epiphany, although the mosque’s décor draws from national ornamentation.
As with many other mosques, Burnaev Mosque was closed in the 1930s by a decision of the Central Executive Committee of the Tatar Republic. Only in 1994 was the mosque returned to parishioners, who subsequently conducted all needed reconstruction work on their own.