Kabud mosque (Blue Mosque)

Kabud mosque (Blue Mosque)

Kabud (Blue Mosque), which is a 15th-century structure was among the most glorious buildings of its era. Once built, artists took a further 25 years to cover every surface with the blue majolica tiles and intricate calligraphy for which it’s nicknamed.  Blue mosque survived one of history’s worst-ever earthquakes (1727), but collapsed in a later quake (1773) and was recently restored with the utmost skill. Devastated Tabriz had better things to do than mend it and it lay as a pile of rubble until 1951, when reconstruction finally started. The brick superstructure is now complete, but only on the rear (main) entrance portal (which survived 1773) is there any hint of the original blue exterior. Because of the blue tiles used in the decoration of both interior and exterior of Kabud mosque, it has become to be known as the Turquoise of Islam.

What remains of Kabud mosque is a witness to its earlier grandeur and splendor. Completed in 1465 by Nimatullah ibn Mohammad Bavvab, architect of Prince Jahan Shah Torkman Salimi (of the Qara Qoyunlu rulers) even today its Timurid tile work (main entrance) with a blue-on-white inscription band of mosaic tile in Riqa’ calligraphy is of a magnificence rivaling that of the Sanctuary of Mash had, as well as a remarkable aspect of the new techniques, designs and wider range of colors used here.

The entrance portal with its two minarets appears to have been connected with the main prayer hall (Shabestan) under the largest cupola of the mosque, by means of vaulted corridor. On both sides along the corridor, there stand the remains of the chambers with vaulted roofs. The walls of the mosque have been riveted with marble slabs and decorated with superb mosaic tiles. Some of the blue mosaics in the mosque’s portal are heavily damaged and half-missing. Kabud mosque is now almost permanently closed, but renovation work and eventual reopening seem inevitable.

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