The Blue Mosque of Tabriz
he Blue Mosque is a famous historic mosque in Tabriz, Iran. The mosque and some other public buildings were constructed in 1465 upon the order of Jahan Shah, the ruler of Kara Koyunlu.
It dates from 1465. It survived one of the worst earthquakes in history (1727), but collapsed during the earthquake that followed in 1773. The town of Tabriz was devastated. The mosque was no more than a pile of rubble. Only the main gate of the entrance remained standing.
This mosque was once certainly superb, a masterpiece of 15th century architecture (Timurid period). It was built for a Turkmen dynasty, under Jahan Shah (1439-67), king of the Turkmen tribe called "Black Sheep".
*** (The Qara Qoyunlu or Kara Koyunlu, also known as the Turcoman Black Sheep, formed a tribal federation of Turcoman origin that ruled what is now Eastern Anatolia, Armenia, Iranian Azerbaijan and the north of Iraq from 1375 to 1468).
Jahan Shah then broke with the brick and covered the edifice with ceramic tiles. The artists took 25 years to cover all surfaces with these blue earthenware tiles and the complex calligraphy for which it was nicknamed the Blue Mosque.
The decoration was made of glazed ceramic of six colors and marble paneling.
The plan was close to that of the mosque of Van (1389-1400): a chamber under a dome surrounded on three sides by a U-shaped portico and provided with an outgrowth which served perhaps as a mausoleum. Two minarets overhung the building. It included a cistern, a library, a tomb, and a khanqah.
The mosque was among the most beautiful buildings of its time. It was completed in 1465.
It is an important milestone in Islamic architecture and may have inspired the directors of the green mosque in Bursa, Turkey, where the craftsmen of Tabriz worked.
Left in ruins until the 1950s, it was only in 1951 that the reconstruction finally began. The mosque benefited from the use of brick, but it was decided not to completely restore the magnificent earthenware that made the building famous. Instead, the restorers were content in some places to paint on a new plaster support the disappeared patterns with a rather original effect.
Only the main gate of the entrance (which had survived in 1773) keeps a suspicion of what was the original blue exterior.
A large cupola room is surrounded on three sides (north, east, west) by galleries surmounted by small cupolas.
Rare colors: olive green, reddish brown, yellow gold or ocher, rosettes, arabesques of flowers, calligraphy in tangled lines, figures of peacock and phoenix.
In the background, a dome-shaped chamber used to be used as a private mosque for the Shahs Qareh Koyunlu (the so-called Black Sheep Turcomans) (1375-1468). Steps lead to the tomb in the room, but access to the tomb of Shah Jahan is quite difficult.
The diverse Kufic, and Thuluth scripts, the arabesque patterns, and the choramatic compositions of these facades, were created by Nematollah-ben-Mohammad-ol-Bavab, the famous calligrapher. The walls inside and outside had been covered with mosaic tiles.
Next to the mosque is a beautiful garden, between the Azerbaijan Museum and the Blue Mosque.
The park honors the Azari-Persian poet of the 12th century, Shirvani Khâghâni.
Khaqani (or Khaghani, or Shirvani) was a Persian poet in the pre-Safavid period, whose importance resides mainly in his brilliant court poems, satires and epigrams.
He was born around 1126 in Shamakhi in the area known as Shirvan (located in the present country of Azerbaijan), and died around 1199 in Tabriz.
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