In Islamic countries like Iran, mosques are not only places for saying prayers, but also a place for development of social communication in Islamic societies, counselling about problems, and helping each other. As Islam entered Iran from 633 to 654 AD, and led to fall of the Sassanid Dynasty, little by little mosques were replaced with Zoroastrian fire temples. The early mosques of Iran were built inspired by the pre-Islamic architecture of Iran, and some of them were constructed on Zoroastrian fire temples as a new layer of history. Some of the oldest mosques of Iran related to early Islamic era are still available and they are amazing architectural masterpieces that you should visit when you travel to Iran.
1. Jameh Mosque of Fahraj
Located in Fahraj town of Yazd Province, the Jameh Mosque of Fahraj or the Imam Hassan Mosque was built during first Hijri century, and according to archaeologists and historians, the construction of this mosque has not changed at all since the day it was built. Also, it is interesting to know that this historical mosque is still used for saying prayer by locals and movement and life still goes on in this mosque. No one exactly knows whether Jame Mosque of Fahraj is the oldest mosque of Iran or the Tari Khaneh Damghan, however both are precious historical heritages whish are still available for visit. The Jameh Mosque of Fahraj is made with mudbrick, mud and bricks in some parts, and what is considerable about the mosque is its simplicity, which is a symbol of the simple lifestyle of Muhammad the prophet. On different parts of this mosque including the main Shabistan, the winter Shabistan, the minaret, entrance corridors, columns, etc. you won’t see any tilework or ornaments
Jameh Mosque of Fahraj
2. Tarikhaneh Mosque of Damghan
The Tarikhane Mosque is located in Damghan city in Semnan Province and is one of the oldest mosques and very first constructions that was built in Iran after the entrance of Islam. This mosque was built sometime between 130 – 170 Hijri, and some historians believe that Tarkhaneh Mosque was a Zoroastrian fire temple named Nari Khaneh (meaning House of Fire) during Sassanid era and them Muslims changed it into a mosque and named it Tarikhaneh which means House of God. The round minaret of the mosque has an inscription which shown Quran verses in Kufic calligraphy and is ornamented with an astonishing brickwork. This minaret is now 26 meters and has 86 stairs. At the bottom, the diameter of the minaret is 13 meter, and at the top. The Tarikhaneh Mosque includes a central square-shaped courtyard surrounded by an iconic roofed Ravaagh (corridor) and a Shabistan (hall) with 26 columns which are 1.5 meters thick and are similar to Sassanid columns in terms of Architecture technique, also the brick works are similar to the brick works of Parthians. In recent years this precious mosque has been restored for a couple of times.
Tarikhaneh Mosque of Damghan
3. Jameh mosque of Nain
Located in Nain Town of Isfahan Province (146 kilometers away from Isfahan), the Jameh Mosque of Nain is another must-see old mosque of Iran dating back to Umavid Era (second century Hijri), however some historians believe that this mosque dates back to Buyid era. The inscriptions of this mosque written in Kufic are among the most stunning parts of the beauty of the columns cause it to be among the most stunning mosques of Iran. Also the glamour of Jameh Mosque of Nain is because of its wonderful and eye-catching stucco works of the Shabistans located on the three sides of the mosque. The largest Shabistan of the mosque which is towards Qibla, is where the Mihrab of mosque ornamented with amazing stucco works located. This mosque also has a brick-made minaret with an octagon base and is 28 meters high.
Jameh Mosque of Nain
4. Jameh Atiq Mosque of Shiraz
The Jameh Atiq Mosque of Shiraz is the oldest mosque of this city located on the east side of Shah Cheragh Holy Shrine. According to excavations, this mosque was built during the reign of Amro Leith Saffarid, the second leader of Saffari Dynasty (between 265 Hijri to 287 Hijri) on the remains of a Zoroastrian fire temple dating back to pre-Islamic era. This early Islamic mosque has been restored and renovated for a couple of times during its history. The Jameh Atiq Mosque of Shiraz is characterized by an iconic construction in the center of its courtyard named Khoday Khaneh or Tarikhaneh, which means house of God. This stone made construction with beautiful arcs and turquoise inscriptions was used for writing Quran books. It is also said that this mosque was the place were Hafez, the great Persian poet read Quran book every week. On the northern side there are two entrance doors with an inscription showing the names of twelve Shiite Imams, an ivan, a Shabistan, and an arc named the Pearl Arc. The door which connects the mosque to the Shah Cheragh Holy Shrine is located on the west side, and the two-story Shabistan with beautiful brick-made ceiling and Mihrab is located on the south side.
Jameh Atiq Mosque of Shiraz