Friday, March 31, 2023

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque (مسجد کبود) is a historic mosque in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province. Located in the center of Tabriz, the Blue Mosque (also called the Kabood Mosque or Turquoise of Islam) stands out as a rare beauty due to its intricate blue tile mosaics. At its entrance, visitors will notice the fragmented mosaic with chunks of turquoise tiles missing. Inside the mosque, the walls are filled with more of the breathtaking turquoise mosaic. The mosque used to be part of a larger architectural complex called Mozafarieh, consisting of a number of other buildings such as a school, library and Sufi convent. The unusual T-shape floor plan, the façade with two domes and other architectural features indicate the influence of Ottoman architecture.

The mosque is built on a stone foundation and is chiefly made of fired brick; however, some pieces of rare stone were also used in some parts. The striking feature of the mosque, though not much of it has remained, is its intricate tilework and abundant calligraphies. In the two parts of the entrance, the width of the white lines of the flowers varies from 2 to 3 millimeters, and in the middle, the Arabic sentence “God has said” is written with blue color in Kufic mosaic inscriptions. The main entrance leads to the antechamber which makes the center of a corridor surrounding the central dome chamber on three sides, with its two arms leading to the two mihrabs on the south side of the building. The porch is surrounded by four large and sturdy columns, which support the large dome of the mosque. After entering the mosque and passing through the porch, you enter the square-shaped main courtyard.

The architect considered the regional climate of Tabriz and, because of its cold weather, all the spaces were designed in a way to be used in different seasons. The southern part of the mosque functions as the graveyard which used to be the resting place of Jahan Shah, the ruler of the Kara Koyunlu, and his family. Apart from its unique architecture and history, a play of color and light that shines through the mosque’s windows, gives photographers a great chance to take unique artistic photos.

The Blue mosque of Tabriz was built in 1465 upon the order of Jahan Shah. Jahan Shah was toppled by Uzun Hassan of the Ak Koyunlu, and Tabriz was taken. Jahan Shah's daughter, Saleheh Khanum, oversaw the rest of the construction work by the new rulers. Though the mausoleum was never completed, when the Safavids assumed control over Tabriz and made it their capital, the Blue Mosque itself served the new rulers as a mosque during the first half of the 16th century. In 1514, after the Safavids were defeated at the decisive Battle of Chaldiran, the Ottomans occupied and looted Tabriz, including the Blue Mosque. Though it is not known whether the Turks attacked the structure itself during the capture and occupation of the Blue Mosque, however, several earthquakes did damage the building between the 16th and 18th centuries. It was especially severely damaged by the earthquake of 1780. In the 19th century, the local people of Tabriz looted the building's ruins. In the 20th century, during the Pahlavi era, the mosque was finally rebuilt.

The Blue Mosque, with its dark blue and turquoise tiles, is one of only four blue mosques in the world. In 2022 a team of professional restorers and cultural heritage experts began work to trim landscapes of the Blue Mosque.          

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