(This is about Blue Mosque Yerevan.)
In its history, Armenia experienced being under the rules of various Muslim nations. For example, Armenia had intermittently been a province of Iran until the rise of the Russian Empire in 1828.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that there used to be a certain number of Muslim population as well as their religious institutions in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia,.
The Blue Mosque in Yerevan is one of the institutions that symbolize this history of Armenia.
Basic Information about Blue Mosque Yerevan
The Blue Mosque (in Armenian sounding as “Kapuyt mzkit”) is an 18th century Shia mosque. It is also known as the only active mosque in Armenia today.
The building consists of an inner courtyard, the main prayer hall, meeting halls, a library and a theological school. Due to the fact that this is a Shia mosque, the architecture is modest lacking luxury element widely spread in Sunni Muslim architecture.
The origin of Blue Mosque Yerevan has not really been articulated because various dates, sometime from the middle of the 18th century to its end, have been cited in scientific literature. Yet, it is considered to have been established by then local governor, Hussein Ali Khan, during the period of Iranian ruler, Nadir Shah.
When Armenia became under the rule of the Russian Empire, 8 functioning mosques were remained and this Blue Mosque was actually the largest among them.
Location of Blue Mosque Yerevan
The Blue Mosque is situated in the central part of Yerevan city, on the Mashtots Avenue, which is opposite to the so-called “Pak Shuka”, an indoor market.
The overall structure makes up a circle organized around the courtyard and the complex occupies 7000 sq. m. space altogether. This vast and large building can be seen once you come really close to this building.
If you are interested in visiting this sight, this Shia mosque opens as time below.
Modern History of Blue Mosque Yerevan
Not functioning under the Soviet power
The Shia Mosque did not function during the Soviet era because of the government’s secularist policies. Just like all Armenian churches, the Mosque, as well, greatly suffered and appeared in quite pitiful conditions under the pressure put on it.
In 1931, the religious services were completely stopped and the only function the mosque performed then was that it served as the Museum of the City of Yerevan.
Only in 1999, the building was totally restored, renovated and started to operate as a Shia mosque again after Armenia gained independence and received significant support from the Iranian government for that purpose.
It was done mostly considering the Iranian population residing in Armenia.
When its renovation was done, the Shia mosque was not really welcome.
It would be worth mentioning that Blue Mosque Yerevan may have lost its initial spirit unfortunately. When the renovation was completed in 1999, some critics argued that it did not preserve its initial spirit and meaning.
Although the truth is not really known, this Shia mosque may not represent the true spirit, but at the same time, it can be interesting to imagine how it looked like when it was initially built in 1800s.
Nowadays, Islamic religious services are concentrated here. However, Armenian authorities have not blessed the consecration of this complex as a mosque yet suggesting that it should serve rather as a cultural center.
Architecture of Blue Mosque Yerevan
Difficult for a passerby to notice
The mosque is presently encircled in a rather bizarre way that makes it less possible for a passerby to notice it from the outside. The explanation is hidden in the urban plan of Yerevan city, which was undergone during the Soviet era.
The central part of Yerevan was thoroughly redesigned and a great number of popular architects; among them was Alexandr Tamanian, a famous architect of the modern Yerevan City, took the responsibility of making Yerevan more modern. In this regard, the Blue Mosque appeared in the middle part of the new block surrounded by new buildings and sections.
Difference compared to other mosques in Islamic world
Blue Mosque in Yerevan features Persian architectural forms; however, because of lack of architectural richness, it can hardly be compared with the Blue Mosques in Istanbul, Sultanahmet and of course, in Tabriz, Iran.
As to the interior, just like in case of outside architecture, minimalistic approach dominates although it does not make the mosque less impressive or beautiful.
The interior does not comprise any interior tiles and does not feature typical Islamic calligraphy. You can see that simplicity prevails on every corner of this Shia mosque.
3 Facts to know about Blue Mosque in Yerevan City
On weekdays, you can come and see “old Yerevan” photo exhibitions which are held there. During your visit to this place, please carefully follow some strict restrictions and instructions as to where you can and where you cannot go.
First look does not tell the truth
When first visiting the Blue mosque Yerevan, people could think of it as some sort of “hidden place” but it is simply a matter of location.
The Blue Mosque seems hidden from view because it is surrounded by other buildings and apartments from all sides. There is only one thing that hints at the presence of a mosque here, which is the very modest entrance from the side of Mashtots Avenue.
At first sight, it may seem that Armenian authorities have deliberately neutralized the Shia mosque but it is not really.
On the contrary, they have demonstrated ultimate care toward the mosque complex by including the building in the new block without any kind of architectural destruction.
Yerevan city becomes richer with this Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque in Yerevan city can hardly be considered as a masterpiece of Persian Shiite Islamic architecture.
However, without any doubt, it needs to be there because Yerevan city becomes a richer, more multicultural and interesting place with this Blue Mosque.
It’s a historical place that is worth visiting if you come to Yerevan. Just see and appreciate this unique piece of beautiful architecture.
Rules to know before visiting the mosque
Other Related Articles
- Moscow Cinema Yerevan – Enjoy Armenian films and traditions in this Yerevan cinema
- Cascade Yerevan (Kaskad Yerevan), Complex famous for its stairs
- Republic Square Yerevan, Armenia with dancing fountains!
- Armenian Art Introduction: recommended art gallery, artist and paintings picked up!
- Zvartnots Cathedral: a Fallen Beautiful temple of Armenia