Odessa Muslims have a long tradition. The city of Odessa was built on the site of an ancient Tatar settlement called Hadzhibey. The settlement was founded by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea, in 1240 and originally named after him as "Hacıbey".
A Tatar mosque, built by renowned architect Karbalayi Safikhan Karabakhi was located in the center of the city, alongside it a Muslim cemetery. With the arrival of Soviet power life dramatically changed for Odessa Muslims. Tatar mullah, Sabirzyan Safarov was shot, the mosque closed and later destroyed. The Muslim cemetery was also razed.
The Arabian Cultural Center was constructed at the expense of the Syrian businessman Kivan Adnan. The center operates a free school and library for teaching Arabic language to everyone regardless of age or nationality.