Situated in a fertile plain from which the formidable range of Alborz can be seen in all its glory, famous for its cereals, cotton, melons, and wheat production, food processing, cooking oil and sugar refineries, and gradually developing into an industrial town, Varamin is a small town 42 km to the south of Tehran through Rey. It had its moment of glory in the Mongol period when Rey was destroyed, and it took its place as the chief town of the region. In the 16th century, the position was taken over by the rivaling adjacent town ? Tehran. The Islamic buildings in Varamin thus all date from 13th to 15th century AD. Among the historic sites of the town, Masjid-e Jom?eh is a 14th century monument and perfect example of the so-called four-ivan plan. Except the western ivan who has totally disappeared, three of the ivans and rest of the building is fairly well preserved. On the frieze of the southern ivan there is an inscription dated 1322 AD in the name of the Ilkhan Abu Sa?id, son of Sultan Oljaitu Khodabandeh whose mausoleum can be seen at Sultanieh. The mihrab thought to date from the reign of Shahrokh, 15th century ruler, and the vault are intact. The mihrab is so “intensely rich,” according to A U Pope, “that it defies pictorial presentation.” This mosque is unquestionably the most interesting building south of Alborz between Sultanieh and Damghan. Nevertheless, as an introduction to Islamic architecture for the newly arrived visitor, which, because of its situation near Tehran it is rather apt to be, it is not to be recommended unreservedly. Its condition is woefully dilapidated. One needs to know a good deal about what a mosque ought to look like in order to appreciate what this one must have been. Moreover, decorated brick and sculptured plaster owe more to the subtlety of their design than to their color, and cannot at first make the same impact as, say, faience mosaic. Varamin therefore, is not perhaps the best place to acquire the taste for early Iranian mosques; but once that taste is acquired, one returns to this lovely ruin with greater understanding and ever-growing respect. Imamzadeh Yahya and the Imamzadeh Shah Hossein (both from the 14 century AD) are the other places of interest for the tourist.
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