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Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Six - 30 August 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Six - 30 August 2023 - Page 7

Hard times for historic mosque in the heart of Tehran

Recent Iranian kings, up until the Qajar era, had a person nicknamed Moayyer-bashi, who was highly trusted by the king. One such person was Hassan-Ali-Beyg Bastami, who served under Nader Shah. Due to his excellence, the Bastami family had control over the mint until the end of the Qajar era, and thus became known as the Moayyer ol-Mamalek family.
Aside from their influence, the Moayyer ol-Mamalek family was also known for their generosity in creating endowments. They built various structures like mosques, schools, water reservoirs, drinking fountains, zoorkhaneh (gymnasiums), and bazaars, which still exist today. Notable landmarks such as “Takyeh Dowlat” and “Shams ol-Emareh” were constructed under their supervision – the former upon Nasser al-Din Shah’s orders.
One of their famous endowments is the Moayyer ol-Mamalek Mosque that used to function as a school as well. If you visit Tehran’s Sangelaj neighborhood on Mahdavian Ahadi Street today, you can see its historic brick building.
However, recent news has circulated about its destruction despite being nationally registered and protected by law, Fars news agency reported.
Sadly, this mosque has lost its original purpose. Even during prayer times, either it remains closed or only a small part becomes accessible temporarily through one door. In earlier days, though, it held great importance due to its central location in the city alongside beautiful architecture and spaciousness.
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Falsafi used to deliver sermons at this mosque for many years when it was one of the busiest places of worship in town. It also served as a gathering place for children who would come for religious education or engage in games during leisure hours—a safe haven appreciated by families.
Until recently, grand Muharram ceremonies took place here with extensive distribution of Imam Hussein’s (PBUH) votive offerings among locals nearby. Additionally, the water reservoir attached to this mosque provided relief to residents of Sangelaj neighborhood facing water shortages. Sadly, the reservoir has now been abandoned, and many are unaware that a drinking fountain and zoorkhaneh within the mosque complex have been completely destroyed.
It is worth noting that when a building is nationally registered, only authorized individuals appointed by Tehran’s cultural heritage department should be involved in its restoration or reconstruction—never for destruction or change of use. What raises concern is the fact that those responsible for safeguarding the Moayyer ol-Mamalek Mosque have not only damaged its historical value, but also prevented public access at times of prayer.
Authorities must address this negligence towards the law. The mere act of opposing will not suffice to halt further demolition. Those responsible for violating regulations regarding national heritage buildings must be held accountable, with orders issued to restore these structures according to preservation principles. Such disregard for our historical heritage encourages others to harm other cultural treasures if enforcement remains weak.

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