It seems there are only four blue mosques in the world and one of them is located in Tabriz in Iran. Tabriz is the capital of the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan (situated in Iran). Tabriz Blue Mosque, known as Masjed-e Kabud in Farsi is one of the tourist hotspots of Iran. The mosque has a history of more than 500 years during which it was constructed, destroyed (by earthquakes) and again re-constructed, though not completely. However, peculiarity of this mosque is not jus blue tiles but also missing ones. What do the missing tiles of this mosque’s façade convey? Do you know?
The mosque and some other public buildings were constructed in 1465 but was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1780, leaving only the iwan (entrance hall). Reconstruction began in 1973 by Reza Memaran Benam, a traditional architect from Tabriz, but the work is still incomplete.
Covered in spectacular blue tiles, from which it derives its name, the Blue Mosque is also an example for Islamic designs and decorations as there are kufic, naskh and thulth scripts as well as various arabesque and geometric patterns inside. It is one of the valuable historical monuments of Iran that its special architectural style has distinguished this magnificent building from other similar examples. Once the mosque was built, artists took a further 25 years to cover every surface with the blue majolica tiles and intricate calligraphy for which it was nicknamed.
In the southern part of the mosque lies a time-honoured mausoleum, itself a source of splendour. It is entirely covered with massive marble slabs on which verses from the holy Quran have been engraved with a background of fine arabesques.
Earthquakes of 18th century devastated the mosque and many parts of it caved in due to natural calamity. In 20th century the mosque was renovated/rebuilt though the pace of renovation is very slow.
But it’s the missing tile that make all the difference. According to heritage scholars, the missing tiles of the mosque’s façade are the reminder of the scars the mosque bears from the damage it suffered from the quakes. Missing tiles take away some of the beauty of the structure but the interiors compensate for the loss.