Jame Mosque of Yazd
The Great Jameh Mosque of Yazd, with over 900 years of history, is one of the masterpieces of the Iranian history and architecture with various relics and structures from different historical periods. According to the historical texts, in the 5th century A.H, the first emir of Kakouei, after entering Yazd, restored and renovated Jume (Friday) mosque of the city, which had been built in the previous centuries. After him, Amir Ala'oddoleh Kalanjar and his wife, Arsalan Khatun, set up a minaret next to the Atiq (old) mosque. His son, "Ala'oddoleh Garshasb," built a single Iwan with dome, the Payab (groundwater access) of Zarch Qanat and a prayer hall in the western part of the Atiq mosque. The main building of the current mosque is the works of Sayed Rokn AL-din (724 A.H.), which is based on the construction of the Atiq mosque in the peace time after the Mongol invasion to Iran. The magnificent eastern entrance facade of the mosque was built during the time of Shahrokh Timurid and its minarets were added to the facade by the command of Jamal al-Din Mehtar Jamal, the ruler of Yazd during the reign of Shah Tahmasb Safavid, in 930 A.H.
The unique Iranian architecture art has been manifested on the high facade and minarets, Shabestans (sanctuary chambers), Iwan (porch), Dome and the dazzling tile works of this mosque. The magnificent and high facade of the mosque is in the Azeri-style. The mosque minarets are approximately 48 meters high and its walls are covered with the holy Quranic verses and names of Ali and Muhammad in kofic script. The right minaret with a two-way separate staircase is one of the most outstanding Iranian architectural masterpieces, so that if two people move simultaneously up and down opposite, they will not see each other. One of the uses of the minarets in Islamic architecture is broadcasting voice of Azan to call believers to pray. The wooden door of the mosque is constructed and installed in accordance with the height of the entrance facade. The greatest Shamseh (sun-shaped) with 72 golden radiuses, which symbolizes the plurality of manifestation of the attributes of God, is on both sides of the main entrance facade. The Shamseh is within a rectangular frame which is decorated with Eslimi patterns centered with the holy names of Allah (God) and Muhammad and Ali.
Iwan (porch) Guide
The lwan of the mosque has been built in the Azeri architecture style in the 8th century A.H, under ceiling which 99 holy names of God are written in Banaiee kufic writing style with turquoise tiles from a Quote (Hadis) of Prophet Muhammad which is as follows: There are 99 holy names for Almighty God, One who remembers or reads them will enter into heaven. The names: Allah Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, Al-Malek, Al-Ghuddus,As-Salam, Al-Mumin, Al-Muhaymen, Al-Aziz,Al -Jabbar Al-Mutakabber, Al-Khaleq, Al-Bari, Al-Musawwer, Al-Ghaffar, Al-Ghahhar, Al-Wahhab, Ar-R azzagh Al-Fattah Al-Alim Al-Ghabez, Al-Baset, Al-Khafez,Ar-Rafe,Al-Muezz, Al-Muzzel, As-Sami, Al -Basir Al-Hakam Al-Adl, Al-Latif, Al-Khabir, Al-Halim, Al-Azim, Al-Ghafur, Ash-Shakur, Al-Ali, Al-Kabir, Al-Hafiz, Al-Mughit, Al-Hasib, Al-Jalil, Al-Karim, Ar-Raghib, Al-Mujib, Al-Wasi, Al-Hakim, Al-Wadud, Al-Majid, Al-Baeth, Ash-Shahid, Al-Hagh, Al-Wakil, Al-Ghawiyy, Al-Matin, Al-Waliyy, Al-Hamid, Al-Muhsi, Al-Mubdi, Al-Muid, Al-Muhyi, Al-Mumit, Al-Hayy, Al-Ghayyum, Al-Wajed, Al-Majed, Al-Ahad, As-Samad, Al-Ghader, Al-Mughtader, Al-Mughaddem, Al-Muakher, Al-Awwal, Al-Akher, Az-zaher, Al-Baten, Al-Wali, Al-Mutaali, Al-Ber, At-Tawwab, Al-Muntaghem, Al-Afuww, Ar-Rauf, Malek-al-Mulk, Zu-al-Jalal wa-al-Ikram, Al-Mughset, Al-Jame, Al-Ghani, Al-Mughni, Al-Mane, Az-Zarr, An-Nafe, An-Nur, Al-Hadi, Al-Badi, Al-Baghi, Al-Wareth, Ar-Rashid, As-Sabur.
Reanding names also has a special order that begins with "Ena-Lellah" and ends with" As-Sabur".
One of the wonderful arts of Iranian architects is performing a domical rounded ceiling on a rectangular space and this four walls space that bears the burden of the dome is called the Gonbadkhaneh. The beautiful dome of the mosque has been built in the Azeri style in the 8th century A.H. This space has been built in the south west of the mosque and back of the main Iwan. The main Mehrab (altar) of the mosque is also located in this area. The Jameh Mosque's dome is a separate double-layer. The inner and outer layers are separated from each other and the small walls named khashkhashi are built on the inner layer which the outer layer can stand on it. The dome, with an emphasis on the important role of the Mehrab, identifies the position of the Qibla, and in populated cities it is a specified point for orientation.
The interior ceiling of the dome is decorated with geometric Hazarbaf (thousand) star-shaped design with a carousel-shaped design surrounded by zigzag patterns in center. Inside of a six sided tile under the dome ceiling, the name of dome's architect is written. The interior dome decoration, with its solar and stellar themes, expresses the close relationship between the vault and the sky. The holy names of God (Allah) and the names of Muhammad and Ali are skillfully performed in the tiles upper walls under the dome.
Mehrab (altar) Guide
The main Mehrab (altar) of the mosque is a deep rectangular space, which has two narrow and small passages on both sides, connected to the Dome. This Mehrab is beautifully decorated with Moaraq tiles, inscriptions and Mohri bricks. In two star-shaped tiles in the semi pillars of two sides of the Mehrab, the name of the architect(Haj Baha-o-din Muhammad-ebn-Alhussein) and the date of the construction (777 A.H.) in Naskh style has been written in Arabic. The Mehrab as a factor for the unity of the Muslims is a place to indicate the direction of the Qibla, which the religious leader stands in it during the time of prayer.
On the forehead of the mehrab inside a square, a holy sentence with the meaning: (There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and Ali is the Wali of Allah) and under it, Salavat-e Kabireh (The blessing of Allah upon Muhammad and the 12 Shiite Imams) is written in bold Sols. On top of the Mehrab, there is a hemisphere out with Moaraq tiles which there is a sun pattern (Shamseh) with 10 radiuses showing with fawn and turquoise-colored lozenge tiles which is associated with the sun shine at the center of it. On two sides of the Shamseh, there are two white clover designs made by the combination of the six names of Ali in Sols writing style and in the letters of Ali word, the name of Muhammed is repeated in the turquoise tile in the decorative Kofi writing style. On top of the Mehrab, doorways and squinches of vault under the Dome, the name of Ali and the Swastika design are all made with Turquoise tiles.
The Swastika (Chalipa)
In the early societies, the Swastika had been the symbol of fire at first, because the two pieces of wood that people used to put across together to make fire, looked like it. The Swastika had been the symbol of the four elements (wind, soil, fire and water) in Iran, Egypt and Greece in some eras. In Iran, it also had been known as the symbol of Mithraism for a long time and that's why it was called Garduneh Mehr (Sun). Mehr had been the God symbol of light in the ancient Iran. Later, Gardunen Mehr got combined with Islamic thoughts and beliefs and appeared as octagonal star. On top of the Mehrab, doorways and squinches of vault under the Dome, the Swastika design is made with Turquoise tiles.
Zarch & Mahmud Abad Payab Guide
Zarch Qanat Guide (registered on UNESCO)
There are two Payabs (groundwater access) in the courtyard of the Jameh mosque. One of them belongs to the Zarch Qanat (aqueduct), and the other belongs to the Mahmud Abad Qanat. The entrance of the Zarch Qanat payab was constructed by the command of "Ala'oddoleh Garshasbo (513-488 A.H.) in the northern part of the mosque. The plan of the Zarch Payab is a regular octagon. There is a circular pond with a diameter of 2.5 and a depth of one meter in the middle of the Payab. According to evidence obtained from the Zarch Qanat, such as the square or rectangle form wells which in the local term, they are called Gabri wells attributes Zarch Qanat to the time of Zoroaster. As well as the numerous Payabs of this Qanat which some of them are too old and mentioned in some historical books, it is believed that the history of the Zarch Qanat dates back to the pre-Islamic times. In 1395 S.H, the Zarch Qanat has been registered as the longest Qanat in Iran with 80 kilometers length and 2115 wells on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Mahmud Abad (Mardava) Payab Guide
There is an iron circular window in the middle of the southern side of the courtyard in front of the lwan which belongs to Mahmud Abad Qanat Payab skylight .This Payab was built by Khaje Jala-Al-din Kharazmi in 809 A.H. The Mahmud Abad Qanat Payab entrance is located at two sides of the west and east of the mosque courtyard.
Application of Payab (Groundwater Access)
In the past due to the lack of surface water and low rainfall in desert areas, the main and only source of access to water in these areas was groundwater from Qanat (aqueduct). The people dug a sloping corridor in the ground and connect the ground surface to the water channel of the Qanat and make a space to access the running water in the Qanat, which is known as Payab (groundwater access). The Payab of Jameh mosque was mainly used for ablution and bathing. Payabs mostly had a pond for washing clothes and bathing. They were also used to keep all kinds of food and fruits and even as a resting place, in hot summer days.