Golpayegan Congregational Mosque is a Seljukid-era mosque and long history makes it a good example of Islamic-Iranian architecture. It was founded in 508 AH (1114 AD) under the auspices of Abu Shoja’ Mohammad ibn Malikshah, a Seljukid king. It has been also registered in Ministry of Culture’s list of National Historical Sites under the code 191; however, the news of construction in the immediate vicinity of the mosque has shaken the foundation of the historical building, effectively relegating its historical importance to abeyance. Reza Bayat, a local lover of historical sites tells Mehr News local correspondent that in a distant as near as 4 meters, an excavation of 7 meters depth awaits the catastrophe looming the mosque; “all over the northern side of the mosque has been dug; in addition, a grand worshiping place had also been built immediately adjacent to the mosque, eclipsing the historical aura of the mosque, and effectively providing a barrier for a UNESCO registration chance in World Heritage Site list,” he added.
Bayat believes that a systematic cultural illiteracy along with mismanagement, and a view dominated by market profiteering in Golpayegan have been a bane for the history and civilization of the city and the region; “Alexander the Great, Mongols, and Mahmud the Afghan had destroyed part of the Iranian civilization; however, the remains are now victim to incompetent city administration, the lack of duty and responsibility and are in the mercy of brute forces of urban development and the marketplace,” he said.
However, the head of Golpayegan local office of the Cultural Heritage believes that the construction even improved the visual beauty of the place and the mosque as well; Mehdi Nowbakht told Mehr News that the businesses establishing in the marketplace built would help meet most expenses and costs; the place will be built by using the material incorporated in the construction of the mosque to save the harmony; this is in harmony with the whole texture of the mosque,” he added.
Isfahan’s head of Cultural Heritage provincial office would refute this opinion that the mosque would be financed by the income provided by the marketplace built in the vicinity of the mosque; “following a visit to the place, a directive was issued demanding the abandoning the construction and demolition of the existent structures,” Fereidoun Allahyari tells Mehr News.
Ali Firouzi, the head of City Council in Golpayegan is still obstinate; “the project is in a safe distance from the mosque, and would not inflict damage on the historical mosque,” he said. Time will show which side will dominate and whether millennium-old mosque will be victim to profiteering short-lived ambitions; a decision would be in the expense of the mosque historical place or it may catapult it to a registration attempt by UNESCO.