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The General Characteristics of the Central Blue Mosque in Yerevan

The Blue Mosque in Yerevan shines like a priceless turquoise stone in the heart of Yerevan, capturing the hearts of believers. This mosque, being the largest and served as the congregational mosque of the city, was built by the governor of Yerevan, Husain Ali Khan Irvani (emir of emirs) in the solar year 1179 ( 1764-1765). According to some views, the Mosque has received its name “Blue Mosque” because of its resemblance to the Tabriz mosque; according to others, because of its blue emerald tiles. The Blue Mosque is the only reminder of the Islamic architecture of Armenia dating from the 18th century. It composite monument that combines different forms of art and aesthetic expression. It still continues to be admired by all, and the importance of this monument doubles day by day. Through centuries nearly 7-8 mosques and other monuments of Islamic religion were built in Yerevan by Muslims. The majority of them drastically deteriorated or were completely because of political changes and neglect on the part of the government. There are three mihrabs in the mosque, which shows that the followers of different directions of Islam have lived side by side in a calm and tolerant atmosphere and prayed or worshipped the God according to their religious traditions. The stone inscriptions of the mosque belong to the artistic school of Isfahan, and the architectural style to the Safavid and Qajar periods. The photos collected from the Yerevan History Museum and the national archive indicate that the mosque served as the central mosque of Yerevan and continued to function as a spiritual seminary and religious sanctuary for Muslims till 1951 (Hijra Year 1330). Students would study religion there for several years, and believers would perform prayers and participate in religious events. The mosque was rebuilt in 1907-1910 (Hijra Year 1325-1328) as a result of which some parts of it were renovated, but because of the Communist system establishment and its antireligious and atheistic approach some parts of the mentioned mosque were destroyed in the course of time left out of care. Fortunately, the Blue Mosque managed to avoid the destruction programs of the communist era due to the inventiveness of shrewd Armenian officials. They were able to save the mosque from destruction by turning the adjacent rooms near the mosque into museum halls. In 1930 when the decree of destruction was issued, many Armenian intellectuals, poets and writers such as Charents, Gegham Saryan and others made great efforts to prevent the realization of the destruction decree. They suggested to create “The Yerevan History Museum” which was fortunately accepted. Thus, the mosque was prevented from destruction. During the communist rule the mosque served as “The Yerevan Museum of History and Nature” and the yard was turned into a gathering place for Armenian intellectuals and writers. The architectural peculiarities of the mosque The Blue Mosque of Yerevan is one of the most valuable samples of mosques made up of four halls which is 5/66 x 97 meters in size and according to the inscriptions in the mosque it has been the main congregational mosque which was used as a spiritual school as well. The mosque has 28 booths which are located in the yard of the mosque with 14 booths on each side. The magnificent door of the main entrance is decorated with mosaic tiles and trimmings of the eastern Islamic style. The main hall and the inner altar which are 54 x 18 meters in size with an appropriate huge dome which is completely tiled with very beautiful turquoise tiles along its longitudinal axis are located in the southern part of the yard. The windows, framed with grills and fitted with colorful glass demonstrating beautiful designs peculiar to Iranian art with its Eastern religious themes and trims, give a special brilliance to the mosque. On both sides of the main hall there are two smaller eastern and western halls which also have marble mihrabs. All the three mihrabs are covered with the verses of the Koran. They were built in Isfahan and later on were moved to Yerevan and placed in the Blue Mosque. The large blue brick dome of the mosque gives the mosque stunning and vibrant look and it seems as if the blue sky has completely covered the land. There are twelve small windows at the bottom of the dome which play a huge role in lighting of this magnificent architecture and in cleaning of its air. The existence of the 12 windows suggests the influence of Shia Imams’ belief on the people of this area. In the northernmost part of the yard there is the small prayer hall “Hoseniye” which was completely ruined several decades ago as a result of an earthquake and now only with the help of photos it is possible to imagine how it was decorated before. This small prayer hall of the mosque – “Hoseniye” was completely renovated in 1990 as a result of which only with great care and special attention the wall saved from the earthquake was restored which is the best proof of the mosque’s antiquity. Nowadays the above mentioned prayer hall is 9 x 60 meters in size. This spiritual and religious complex had several entrances in past only three of which were preserved. The main entrance with its relatively long corridor and deep large vaulted ceiling is located in the south-eastern part and leads to the yard of the mosque. This one is also applicable as the main entrance. Previously, this entrance had a direct access to the old city market and to the square. In this section there is the 24 meter high stone-based brick minaret which was the highest point of old Yerevan buildings and was attracting everyone’s attention from far away. The minaret with its seven-degree deviation might seem to be endangered to an onlooker but in fact the minaret stands solidly according to the study carried out by architects and engineers in 2011. Since then, the degree of deviation has not changed. The congregational rooms in the yard were formerly used as places for organizing lessons about religious sciences. They served as a resting and lodging place for pupils of the seminary who came from distant regions and for pilgrims staying at the mosque. The renovation, reconstruction and preservation of the mosque On February 13, 1992 (on Bahman 16, Hijra year 1370) an agreement was signed between the Industrial Management Directorate of the “Moztazafan and Janbazan” foundation of the Iranian Islamic Revolution and the Executive Committee of the Yerevan City Council according to which the program of renovation and reconstruction of the mosque was transferred to the Iranian side. Reconstructive activities were carried out in 1994 and 2010 in two stages and due to great efforts the mosque was entirely rebuilt and renovated. An overview of current cultural events taking place in Yerevan central mosque The Yerevan central mosque still continues to be an important cultural and spiritual centre where many spiritual and cultural events are organized systematically such as celebrations of religious holidays, mourning ceremonies and group prayers. The mosque organizes Koran recitation sessions, provides psychological consultation and medical services and offers lessons of Persian language. It also invites visitors to an exhibition hall of photos and embroideries, a rich library and an an Internet centre. For the purpose of organizing this diverse cultural life as precisely as possible, the informative website of the Yerevan Central Blue Mosque is actively engaged in informational activities at the following address: WWW.YEREVANMASJED.IR . The visitors of this page always have the opportunity to be informed about the organization of different cultural events in 3 languages: Persian, Armenian and Russian.