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Varamin

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The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture What is This? Provides in-depth historical and cultural information on over a thousand years of Islamic art and architecture

Varamin

Town in Iran 60 km southeast of Tehran. It was an agricultural satellite of Rayy until the 1220s, when Rayy was irreparably destroyed by the Mongols. When economic life began to revive under the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty (r. 1256–1353), Varamin developed into a major urban center. Between 1322 and 1326 Hasan al-Quhadhi, a vizier from the region, built a splendid congregational mosque in the town (see Architecture, §VI, A, 1 and Mosque, fig. 2). It is an almost perfect example of the classical Iranian mosque: four iwans are set around a central courtyard, one of which leads to a domed area in front of the mihrab. Other work done under the Ilkhanids includes a number of tombs—the Imamzada Yahya (1261–3; restored 1305–7), the mausoleum of ῾Ala al-Din (1289) and the Imamzada Shah Husayn (c.1330)—and the portal of the Sharif Mosque (1307). Numerous fragments of luster tiles of the 1260s and 1300s that once decorated the Imamzada Yahya are now in collections in London (V&A; see Abu tahir, color pl. 1:I, fig. 1), St. Petersburg (Hermitage) and elsewhere. At the turn of the 14th century Varamin was subjected to devastating attacks by the armies of Timur (Tamerlane), so that the Spanish traveler Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo (d. 1412) found the town mostly deserted in 1405. Its subsequent recovery is marked by minor restorations to the congregational mosque (1412–19) and the construction of the tomb of Husayn Riza (1437), known for its retardataire stucco decoration. From the 16th century onwards Varamin was overtaken by Tehran as the major city of the region.

Bibliography

  • Enc. Islam/1: “Waramin”
  • D. Wilber: The Architecture of Islamic Iran: The Il-Khanid Period (Princeton, 1955)
  • O. Grabar: “The Visual Arts, 1050–1350,” The Saljuq and Mongol Periods, ed. J. A. Boyle, v of The Cambridge History of Iran (Cambridge, 1968), pp. 629–36 [detailed discussion of the congregational mosque]
  • B. O’Kane: “The Imamzada Husain Riza at Varamin,” Iran, xvi (1978), pp. 175–7
  • O. Watson: Persian Lustre Ware (London, 1985)
  • The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Court Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353 (exh. cat., ed. L. Komaroff and S. Carboni; New York, Met.; Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.; 2002–3)
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