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Kabud (Blue) Mosque, Tabriz,East Azerbaijan,Iran

When it was constructed in 1465, the Mosque was among the most glorious buildings of its era. Once built, artists took a further 25 years to cover every surface with the blue majolica tiles and intricate calligraphy for which it’s nicknamed. It survived one of history’s worst-ever earthquakes (1727), but collapsed in a later quake (1773). Devastated Tabriz had better things to do than mend it and it lay as a pile of rubble till 1951, when reconstruction finally started. The brick superstructure is now complete, but only on the rear (main) entrance portal (which survived 1773) is there any hint of the original blue exterior. Inside is also blue with missing patterns laboriously painted onto many lower sections around the few remaining patches of original tiles.

A smaller domed chamber further from the entrance once served as a private mosque for the Qareh Koyunlu shahs. Steps lead down towards Jahan Shah’s tomb chamber but access would require some minor gymnastics.

The Khaqani garden outside, honouring 12th-century Azari-Persian poet Shirvani Khaqani, is a good place to meet English-speaking students.

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