. Mosques are places that most of the Muslims gather frequently there on a daily basis to say their prayers, to solve problems and consequently sometimes to witness important incidents of history. Iran is the host of many remarkable mosques in terms of architecture and art and one of the most beautiful, popular and historically significant mosques of Iran is the Goharshad mosque.
What do you know about the Goharshad Mosque?
Iran is a big country with a rich history. Art and religion are two of the most important factors that Iranian paid a lot of attention to for designing structures, monuments and important part of their cities, in the past. This can be noticed immediately once you start walking in historical parts of big and famous cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad. Among different structures that have been remained from past centuries, mosques always have received particular attention. That is mostly due to the value of such holy places in the daily life of Muslims. Mosques are places that most of the Muslims gather frequently there on a daily basis to say their prayers, to solve problems and consequently sometimes to witness important incidents of history. Iran is the host of many remarkable mosques in terms of architecture and art and one of the most beautiful, popular and historically significant mosques of Iran is the Goharshad mosque.
Enjoy the beauty of Goharshad Mosque:
In 1410s CE Wife of Shah Rukh of Timurid dynasty, Empress Goharshad has placed the order of building a beautiful mosque in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan in the northeast part of Iran. Empress Goharshad was one of the most powerful women of her own time. The construction period took 12 years, under supervision of one of the most famous architectures of that time, Ghavomodin Shirazi close to the Shrine of Imam Reza. Goharshad Mosque consists of several different parts, including four verandas, seven rather big bedchambers, one big azure dome, and a courtyard. Each minaret of this mosque is 40 meters high. The main materials used for the building of this 9410 square meters monuments are plaster and bricks.
The main dome of the mosque is technically interesting for architectures. The special architecture of this dome is such that it can be visible from one thousand feet distance. This part of the mosque consists of two dissociated layers with a hatchway of radius 7.5 meters, the thickness of 5.2 meters and circumference of 63. The onion-like layers of the dome are connected with each other using a short shaft. The Kufic script which has been employed for the decoration of the dome’s shell adds to the value and beauty of Goharshad Mosque. The entire design has been further completed using artistic employment of confusing contrasts along with arabesque motifs and other geometric patterns.
Goharshad Mosque is known as one of the most prominent monuments of Iran and this comes in many different aspects, of which the rich scripture and tile decorations is noticeable. The margins in the entrance of the main Verda is decorated with inscriptions by one of the most famous calligraphers of the Timurid Dynasty, Baysunqur Mirza. For decoration of the 20.1-meter mosaic faience in the courtyard dark stone is used. Artistic forms of arabesque designs along with tiles of flora have been used for decoration of other parts of this section. Walls and the surface of minarets of Goharshad Mosque have been decorated with glazed tiles and fine expensive mosaics with different colors such as white, clear green, ebony, and variation of yellow, ultramarine and turquoise. This variation of colors has brought a relaxing and unique harmony to the interior atmosphere of Goharshad mosque.
One artistic, interesting and rather a valuable item in Goharshad Mosque is the Sahib ul-Zaman pulpit which has been crafted in 1243 Lunar hejira. This pulpit which is decorated with carvings and is made of walnut wood is placed in the cella of Goharshad Mosque. One interesting fact about this pulpit is that no piece of iron, even in the form of nails, have been used in it.
Goharshad mosque is also well-known because of its huge central library and museum with more than a million books in 43 different languages. You can find handwritten (around 30000 volumes), printed or illustrated copies (around 1000 volumes) precious books in this library. Microfilms and valuable copies of books from other libraries, either national or international, can also be found in this famous library. A valuable collection of gold-woven handicrafts and carpets is also placed in the central museum of this mosque. Since these features are mostly attached to Imam Reza, the museum hosts more than hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Goharshad Mosque through history:
Although Goharshad Mosque is significant due to its unique architecture, history has also added to its value through the time. This mosque is established next to Imam Reza shrine, the eighth Imam of Shia. As a matter of fact, the mosque is not only under the spotlight of Shia attention but also has been a witness of many historical incidents.
For instance, in 1911 and during the Russian Empire’s bombings of troops this mosque has been damaged severely. But what has made this mosque particularly famous among Iranian and adds to its value in history is the backlash against secularist policies and heavy consumer taxes of Reza Shah, the first king of Pahlavi dynasty, which has erupted in the 1930s. During this event, locals and merchants took refuge in the shrine of Goharshad Mosque. For four days, the merchants remained safe inside the mosque but afterward, troops broke into the shrine, resulting in the killing of dozens of people and hundreds of injuries. This event has gone down to history as “Goharshad Mosque rebellion” and many marks it as final rupture for Shah and Iranian.
Goharshad Mosque is known as the first and the greatest survived Persian monument from the fifteenth century. This mosque is a unique monument, special architecture complex with an Islamic theme that has stood still for almost six centuries now. Distinctive Islamic art in combination with Iranian theme and handicrafts has made it a distinctive complex in beauty. If you are interested in Iranian architecture and you have planned your next trip to Mashhad, do not lose the chance of visiting this beautiful, historical, unique and rather magical mosque close to Imam Reza Shrine.