Goharshad Mosque in Mashhad located in southern part of Imam Reza’s (AS) holy shrine, is the oldest mosque of the city, dating back to the 15th century C.E.
The holy shrine almost embraces the mosque. The construction of the mosque was begun in 1409 C.E. and it took 12 years to be over. According to Sir Percy Sykes, diplomat and historian, it is the noblest mosque in the central Asia.
The mosque was commissioned by Goharshad Agha, daughter of Amir Ghiyase al-Din Tarkhan, constructed by the famous architect of the Timurid era, Qavam al-Din Zein al-Din bin Tayyan Shirazi. The building of themosque as written by the then governor general Baysonqor Mirza was built in the time of Shahrokh.
The mosque’s comprehensive deed of endowment was written in 1425. The building of the mosque has been renovated several times like the time of Shah Abbas of Safavid dynasty when Mashhad was completely freed from under the yoke of Uzbek sovereignty.
On the entablature of the northern veranda, there lies an inscription showing the time of the renovation in Safavid reign in the time of Shah Abbas and Shah Soleiman.
In 1803, the destructive earthquake of Mashhad also caused a major damage to the mosque which was also renovated by Safavid kings. The mosque was also renovated in Qajar era too, but the building still retains its art and historical identity and value. The building covers an area of 6049 square meters with its large courtyard in the size of 30.56X65.51m.
Goharshad Mosque has 4 big verandas in four sides of the courtyard as well as 22 chambers, and 28 entrance doors from the courtyard to the Shabistans (nightly prayer chamber).
Four verandas, 8 Mihrabs (prayer niche), 2 minarets and a dome are also among different sections of the mosque. Varied beautiful patterns and calligraphy works and verses of the Holy Quran are skillfully painted on the tile works of the mosque. The design, tile works, traditional decoration, calligraphy works and architecture have all made a unique and distinguished mosque in its kind.