Blue Mosque, Tabriz (Masjed Kabood)
“The Turquoise of Islamic World”
Iran has many magnificent mosques, each of which is a masterpiece of art and architecture. One of Iranian most magnificent and historic mosques is Tabriz Blue Mosque, also known as Goy Masjed in Azeri or Masjed Kabood (literally “dark blue/bruised mosque” in Persian), a mosque that best shows post-Islamic architecture and is one of the few blue mosques in the world. Historical books called this magnificent building “Mozaffariyeh Mansion”.
What makes this mosque famous as Blue is the presence of azure tiles that give the mosque a special beauty. This mosque is one of the most spectacular attractions of Tabriz and attracts many tourists to visit it.
It is said that the construction of the mosque took about 30 years and many engineers and architects were involved in that. There are only four blue mosques in the world, one of which is located in Tabriz and to visit this you should go to Imam Khomeini Street, opposite of Sadr Alley, next to Khaghani Park.
According to the inscriptions on the entrance portal of it, the mosque was constructed in 1465 by the order of Jahan Shah, the ruler of Kara Koyunlu dynasty (Capital: Tabriz). However, the construction of the mosque was under the supervision of his wife, Jan Beigum Khatun, or, according to some historians, his daughter, Saleheh. Unfortunately, a severe earthquake in 1780 Lunar caused great damage to the mosque and its domes collapsed. Today only a few pillars, parts of the outer wall and the main facade, and sections of the vaulted ceiling and a dome are remained. But still this little remnant is a testament to the magnificence of the mosque. The main dome has been renovated by the Reza Me’maran under the supervision of Iranian Ministry of Culture and rebuilding interior and exterior tiling-works is still ongoing.
The architectural style of the Blue Mosque is that of Azeri. The mosaic of the Blue Mosque, the dome-shaped arches and its minarets with special decorations is an example of Timurid architecture. Motifs and wall designs and Muqarnas ornaments represent the unique manifestation of the architecture of this era. The cyan tiles have come in a geometric pattern that catches the visitor’s eyes.
The main building of the Blue Mosque is brick. The entrance portal is decorated with fine tile-work with an inscription on which the names of the calligraphers and the date of construction are engraved in Kufic and sols.
The building has a main dome and a southern dome, which are located on a large courtyard and smaller southern courtyard. There are also seven smaller domes that cover the mosque’s eastern and western alcoves (Shabestan) and the entrance.
Blue Mosque (Majed Kabood) seems to be a memorial to Jahanshah’s victories, so that one can refer to Fath (victory) sura , which is ornamented above the mosque’s Shabestan . The name of Jahanshah is also embedded in gold on the inscription above the entrance.
In the southern part of the mosque (south of the small courtyard) there is a crypt with two tombs discovered during the reconstruction of the mosque and considered to belong to Jahanshah and his daughter. In the northern and eastern sections of the mosque courtyard, there are some porches that have recently been added to the remains of the mosque. From the pillars in the main courtyard of the mosque there are stairs to the porch overlooking the main courtyard. At the pillar’s base, there are some small chambers that are thought to be used for the shoes for the prayer and their style and structure have changed today.
The architect considered the regional condition of Tabriz and its cold mountainous climate; therefore, all the parts were designed in a way to perform their functional role in different seasons of the year. The southern part of the mosque functions as the graveyard which used to be the resting place of Jahanshah and his family.