Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blue Mosque of Tabriz

Masjed Kabud, Blue Mosque (literally, bruised mosque), is a historic mosque in Tabriz, a city in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. Having spent most of my time in the outskirts of Tabriz visiting St. Stephanos Monastery in Jolfa and Kandovan, this was one of two sites that I visited in the actual city last summer. 

Masjed Kabud was built in 1465 by the order of Jahan Shah and is one of the remains of the Kara Konyunlu dynasty which made Tabriz the capital of the kingdom. It was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1779, and though incomplete, it has been undergoing reconstruction since 1973. 

Inside the mosque are diverse Kufic and Thuluth scripts as well as a variety of arabesque and geometric patterns designed by Nematollah Ibn Mohammad Elbavvab, a famous calligrapher. After seeing the gardune mehr, swastika, in Masjed Jameh in Yazd the previous year, I kept an eye out for this symbol in this old mosque as well, and I spotted them. Garduneh mehr, literally Mithra's wheel, was the symbol for the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation in Zoroastrian Persia. 

Behind and around the mosque is a park area where you can find many older Tabrizi men sitting around chatting or playing chess. From here you can head to the Bazaar of Tabrizwhich is another sight not to miss.


Thuluth script

Thuluth script

Blue honeycomb tiles

Garduneh Mehr, swastika, and geometric patterns

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