Great Mosque of Herat

The Jami Masjid of Herat, also known as the Masjid-i Jāmi of Herat, and the Great Mosque of Herat is a mosque in the city of Herat, in the Herat Province of north-western Afghanistan. It was built by the Ghurids, under the rule of the famous Sultan Ghayas-ud-Din Ghori, who laid its foundation in 1200 CE, and later extended by several rulers as Herat changed rulers down the centuries from the Timurids to the Safavids, Mughals and then the Uzbeks, all of whom supported the mosque. Though many of the glazed tiles have been replaced during subsequent periods, the Friday Mosque in Herat was given its present form during the closing years of the fifteenth century.

Apart from numerous small neighborhood mosques for daily prayer, most communities in the Islamic world have a larger mosque, a congregational mosque for Friday services with a sermon. The Jama Masjid was not always the largest mosque in Herat; a much larger complex the Mosque and Madressa of Gawharshad, also built by the Timurids, was located in the northern part of the city. However, those architectural monuments were dynamited by officers of the British Indian Army in 1885, to prevent its use as a fortress if a Russian army tried to invade India.


The Great Mosque is laid out in the traditional rectangular iwan pattern, with three walls and a huge central courtyard. Some of the original decoration remains in the center section, but much has been replaced.