Blue Mosque, Yerevan

The "Blue Mosque", also known as the "Gök Jami", (Azerbaijani: Göy məscid, Armenian: Կապույտ Մզկիթ, Kapuyt Mzkit or Գյոյ Մզկիթ, Gyoy Mzkit; Persian: مسجد کبود, Masjed-e Kabud), is a mosque in Yerevan, Armenia. The Yerevan region was under various Muslim rulers since the incursions of Timur in the 14th century. Since the second third of the 18th century, when it had been taken from the Ottomans, it had been a province of Iran (ruled successively by Nadir Shah, Karim Khan Zand and the dynasty from the Qajar tribe) before it fell to Russia in 1827.


For the mosque building, various dates from the mid-18th century are cited in literature. According to a tradition reported by the 19th-century traveller H.F.B. Lynch it was erected during the period of the Iranian ruler Nadir Shah (1736–47) by the local gouvernor Husayn Ali Khan.George Bournoutian names Husayn Ali Khan as the patron of the building, but places his reign in the years 1762-83. According to Vladimir M. Arutyunyan et al. construction started in 1760 and was completed under Husayn Ali Khan in 1764-68.

The building was the main congregational mosque for the city. When Yerevan was captured by Russia in 1827 it was, according to the cataster drawn up by the Russians, the largest of its eight functioning mosques. The building consisted of the main prayer hall, a library, and a madrasa with 28 cells, all organised around a courtyard, with the overall complex occupying 7,000 square metres of land. There is a single minaret at the main portal, in keeping with contemporaneous mosques, and there is no evidence that there were more minarets.

Due to the secularist policies of the Soviet government, religious services at the Blue Mosque were stopped and in 1931 the building was turned into the Museum of the city of Yerevan. In the latter half of the 1990s the mosque underwent a heavy restoration, funded by Iran, that has been criticised for being aesthetically damaging. Islamic religious services have now resumed within the Blue Mosque, which is the only mosque operating in Yerevan. The Museum of the City of Yerevan is now housed in a purpose-built building on another site.


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