Introduction to Yazd Jame Mosque
The city of Yazd has a treasure trove of Persian art, culture, and civilization in its heart. Yazd Jame Mosque is one of the glorious monuments of the Islamic period of Persia, so it is one of the unique historical monuments that fascinates every viewer with its grandeur and majesty. Yazd Jame Mosque is a symbol of the city and even a symbol of Persia, where contains the tallest minarets among other mosques in the world.
History of Yazd Jame Mosque
Yazd Jame Mosque is a 900-year-old structure built in different historical periods; each part of the monument has been architectured and restored over time by several founders. The principal foundation of the mosque was built on a Sassanid fire temple. With the advent of Islam, this also happened in terms of many fire temples. According to some ancient documents, the Yazd Jame Mosque was one of these fire temples, but the point is that it has been a place of worship for many centuries. Yazd Jame Mosque is a combination of 3 old mosques that were built next to each other in the past years and became modern in the Qajar period. At the end of the third century AH, during the reign of Amr ibn al-Layth Saffari, the first mosque called the Old Grand Mosque was designed and built. This part of the building was constructed and repaired in the fifth century AH. Atiq Mosque had three main doors that opened to the sections of Safe Maghsoureh, Kolahdoozan Bazaar, and Kamalieh School. Atiq Mosque is in the northeastern part of the current mosque.
In the 5th century, Ala’oddoleh Kalanjar, one of the rulers of Yazd, built the second mosque on the west side of the Atiq Mosque, known as the Old Grand Mosque, and added more structures to the original mosque by building a dome and several porches. Ala’oddoleh Kalanjar was one of the most famous founders of the mosque. After his death, the mosque was restored, and new sections were added to the main building of the Grand Mosque. The third mosque, called the New Grand Mosque, was opened in the early eighth century AH by Seyyed Rokn Addin Abolmakarem Mohammad Ghazi Hosseini Yazdi. Since the building has been renovated several times, unfortunately, many of the principal and old parts no longer exist; what we see today as the Jameh Mosque of Yazd, as a relic of the Qajar period, is a combination of three old mosques.
Architecture of Yazd Jame Mosque
Yazd Jame Mosque is built on a 9800 meters land in the middle of the old city inside a barrier. The square mosque is an imitation of the Kabaa architecture. There are many Shia symbols throughout the Grand Mosque, and many of the building’s decorations are Shia symbols. Another interesting point is that the builders applied Karbala clay with rosewater to prepare the mortar and tiles of the mosque. Perhaps these unique features led to the modeling for subsequent religious buildings in this particular area.
Yazd Jame Mosque is the oldest example of religious architecture in the ninth century AH in the area. It is considered one of the most spiritual mosques in Persia, since the mosque’s light supply is indirect, provided by the reflection of light from the dome and the walls’ white plaster. The mosque embraces a high porch, two naves and two hothouses, a dome, and an extensive courtyard in the shape of a rectangle and two footsteps, the main entrance, library, front house, and various entrances. There are six ways to enter the mosque, each in a section. The main entrance on the east side of the mosque has a high port, mosaic tile inscriptions, and two minarets. The marvelous port, known as the tallest one among the religious buildings of Persia, was added to the building during Shahrokh Teymouri’s rule, decorated with mosaics and tiles with Gereh Chini or Trelliswork and Islamic motifs. Most of these artifacts were destroyed over time and have been rebuilt during patronage repairs.
The entry door of Yazd Jame Mosque is 4.5 meters high, made of walnut wood. Passing through the door, you will enter the mosque’s porch, where you will see inscriptions made of tiles and stones embracing government decrees and endowment letters. The dome-shaped roof is made of brick and decorated with geometric shapes and brilliant colours. You should know, there is an inscription around the ceiling, having a wonderful ode in its heart. Inside the courtyard, you will encounter a large platform that was a place of worship. The platform is for those who want to worship under the moonlight. The feature has made the space known as the moonlight stage. Such a lovely courtyard includes an altar with blue tiles containing the names of Allah, Muhammad, Ali, Hasan, and Husayn.
Opposite the eastern door of the mosque, there is an area in front of the mosque. The space consists of an octagonal pond in front of the door and a small marble pillar with animal and plant motifs carved on it and poems written in Naskh script on the marble columns; Unfortunately, the script is not clear due to the broken columns. An old resident of Yazd has quoted: ” these two marble columns have played the role of candlesticks in the past,” from the book of Yazd monuments.
The Eastern Port of Yazd Jame Mosque
The eastern entrance is one of the fascinating parts of the mosque that dazzles your eyes as soon as you enter the place. The entrance’s height is 24 meters with spectacular arches and two spectacular minarets on both sides. The entrance collapsed once, but finally, in 1945, a person named Haj Seyed Mohammad Ali Varzi repaired it as you see today. On the port, the titles of Shahrokh Teymouri and Mirza Jahan Shah are written in Naskh script.
The Mosque’s Minarets
One of the most prominent parts of the Yazd Jameh Mosque is the minarets at the entrance. The height of the minarets of the Yazd Jameh Mosque, with more than 52 meters, has gained the title of the tallest minaret among historical mosques, but in 1934 they fell and were rebuilt. The minarets’ height and their stunning tiling at the top make them captivate everyone’s attention. Inside the minarets, there is a staircase, one of which is a single-side type, and the other is a two-sided staircase. The two-sided stairs have been seen in the mosque for the first time in the history of Persian architecture. Such an issue has doubled the value of the high minarets of the Jameh Mosque of Yazd. The construction of the minarets is most likely attributed to Jamal al-Din Muhammad, who was the minister of Yazd during the reign of Shah Tahmasp Safavid.
The charming mosque’s dome dazzles the eyes of the beholder, consisting of two connected shells with a delicate design of Wild Sweet William and an ornate stem called Al-Mulkullah, carved with a particular elegance in Kufic script. There was also a corridor for women to pass through the dome. The most impressive parts of the building are the porch and dome complex and the space around them.
Eastern Shabestan: Such a summer nave, containing the mosque’s altar, was constructed by Shah Yahya Mozaffari’s order, one of the Yazd rulers.
West Shabestan: The western nave was built during Amir Ghias’s reign, and the building’s name was known as Ghiasieh many years ago. Currently, the nave is the museum of Yazd Jame Mosque.
The Shazdeh nave with 48 rectangular columns was architectured in the west of the northern courtyard named after Prince Mohammad Vali Mirza in 1824 AD, covered with hexagonal and turquoise tiles.
Altar of The Mosque
One of the most spectacular parts of the Grand Mosque is its altar, which contains plastering and Mugharnas embellishments. The main altar located in the dome is made of mosaic tiles that are a combination of designs such as flowers and plants. You can see the date of completion of the tilework and the architect’s name around the altar. There is also a small part of the tile in the shape of the earth, using all the colours applied in the whole mosque tiles.
The Mosque’s Porch
The principal porch is also rectangular and has an altar. The entrance space of the porch has an arch-like area on the ceiling and the margin of which Surah Fatah, one of the surahs of the Quran, is written with artistic scripts. Also, there are two columns on both sides containing astonishing written calligraphy with Naskh and Kufic scripts. You can see 99 names of God engraved on the roof of the porch in Kufic script; The famous inscription of mosaic tiles with the names of 12 Imams and a magnificent altar placed on the porch are remarkable.
Museum and Treasure of Yazd Jame Mosque
The museum was opened in 2014 in the western nave of the mosque. Here, you can see many embellishments of the mosque which have been separated from the wall, ceiling or have lost their original function for any reason. There are 350 objects related to the patriarchal period; we can mention the wooden door of the Yazd Jame Mosque, the Kaaba curtain, the clock, the old samovar, the exquisite tiles of the mosque, and the stone pulpit.