Bam's Friday mosque, one of Iran's oldest mosques, exemplifies the Shabestani style, which dates back to the early years of Islam in Iran, ca. 652. The Friday mosque is located along one of old Bam's major E-W axes, in its working-class neighborhood (rabaz), opposite the Mirza Naim complex in the southeast quadrant of the city.
Conjecturally dated to the Saffarid period (874-900), the Friday Mosque of Bam was built from unbaked mud brick (khesht) and poured mud walls (chineh), and was likely built atop the ruins of an older structure. Archaeological research has confirmed the presence of an ablution pool on the north side of the mosque, indicating the existence of an older, previous mosque. Additional dating evidence is provided by architectural historian Arthur Upham Pope, who qualified the early Iranian mosques according to the heights of their iwans. According to Pope, the higher the iwan, the earlier the mosque, as early mosques tended to imitate the monuments of their Sassanid and Ashkanid predecessors.
Prior to the 2003 earthquake, this mosque was an 1881-square-meter structure composed of 4 iwans centered on a 583-square-meter courtyard. The western iwan, which holds the qibla wall, is the oldest part of the structure, dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries CE. The northern and southern iwans date from the tenth and eleventh centuries CE, a period of wartime prosperity. During the construction of these two iwans, some changes were also made to the original prayer hall (shahbestan). The northwestern prayer hall contains a stucco-decorated mihrab with an inscription dated to 1751 CE (1164 AH), the Afsharid period. The southwestern prayer hall dates from the Qajar period in the early nineteenth century.
Originally, this Friday mosque was entered from the north, but after the old city of Bam was abandoned in the 19th century, a new entrance was opened in its south for the occasional ceremonial use of the building. A minaret was later added to its southeast side, which contained the well of the 12th imam, a feature of Shiite mosques. The earthquake of 2003 destroyed the Friday mosque of Bam; no elements of the building remain.
Nourbakhsh, Hamid. N.d. Arg-e Bam: Hamrah ba tarikh-e mokhtasari az tahavvol-e shahrneshini va shahr sazi Iran. N.p.