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Sheikh Ahmad-e Jām Khaneghah and Mausoleum Complex (Mazar-e Jām)

Date of Submission: 24/08/2021
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Iranian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts
State, Province or Region:
Khorasan Razavi Province
Coordinates: N60 15 to 60 30 E34 35 to 35 47
Ref.: 6553
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Description

Sheikholeslam Abunasr Ahmad-ibn-e-Abolhasan-ebn-e- Ahmad-ibn-e-Mohammad Naameghi-e Jāmi known as Ahmad Zhendepil or Ahmad jām was one of the great Iranian Sufis in the second half of the forth and first half of the fifth century AH. The presence of sheikh and his descendants played a major role in the development of the region, particularly Maˈd Ābād village and its turning into Torbat-e Jām town. Here he built a Khaneghah for teaching and preaching to his followers so that the village became a venue for pilgrims and devotees, which caused its flourishing. The respect for his Gnostic personality led to the construction of more buildings at his shrine and the extension of this Khaneghah regarding its beauty, magnificence and greatness. After training many disciples and attaining the highest mystical and divine authority he passed away in the year 536 AH.

The tomb complex of Sheikh Ahmad Jām, which is the result of developments in various historical periods, includes numerous works from the Seljuk, Al-Kurt, Timurid, Safavid, and Qajar periods. In this shrine, architectural elements are formed around a large central courtyard. The most important and magnificent architectural spaces of the site have been constructed adjacent to Sheikh Jām's tomb including a dome, a porch, a mosque of Kermani, a white dome and a green dome, a porch, a mosque, Jāme mosque, open mosque (summer and winter), water storage, Madras (school), entrance hall.

He built a Khaneghah for teaching and preaching to his followers so that the village became a venue for pilgrims and devotees, which caused its flourishing. The respect for his Gnostic personality led to the construction of more buildings at his shrine and the extension of this Khaneghah regarding its beauty, magnificence and greatness. Its original nucleus was formed in the eighth century and during the reconstruction of Sheikh Ahmad Khaneghah, the gradual annexation of structures specially Mosques and Gonbad Khana around its main terrace, has diverted its plan from a known and typical pattern of any Khaneghah complex. shows the superiority of ensemble regarding the logical relation among ceremonial, service and worshipping spaces.

Presently, Sheikh-e Jām’s shrine is at the end of a yard surrounded by structures dating back to the 13th- 19th AD. The tomb has been elevated using brick and plaster materials. Apparently, the nucleolus of the complex has been Maˈd Ābād Khaneghah, which was rebuilt and redecorated about a century after sheikh’s death in the year 633 AH.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Sheikh Ahmad-e Jām Khaneghah & Mausoleum Complex (Mazar-e Jām) in Khorasan Razavi have outstanding universal value as an artistic and architectural masterpiece and an outstanding representation of the fundamental principles of Sufism. The magnificent 27m shrine of Sheikh Ahmad Jām is significant not only from an artistic point of view, but also regarding its architectural ornaments. This structure remains as one of the masterpieces of decorative art in the Islamic architecture. The architecture is combined with a rich variety of artistic and decorative features, and especially fine inscriptions.

The Sheikh Ahmad-e Jām Khaneghah is in two aspects an example of an exchange of human values in the field of universal culture; this kind of exchange has been so effective and influential in the history of the intellectual developments in the Islamic world and in the Islamic architecture that can be considered as one of the most significant universal values of the property:

  • Ideological and intellectual values which are manifested in the architecture;
  • Architectural techniques and methods.

Criterion (ii): The Sheikh Ahmad-e Jām ensemble represents an important interchange in the development of the Islamic architecture in the 10th century. It was based on the Sufi philosophy through the school of  Sheikh Ahmad-e Jāmi, and became the fundamental reference for the artistic and architectural development. The presence of sheikh and his descendants played a major role in the development of the region.

Criterion (iii): The spiritual eminence of Sheikh Ahmad Jām, the latter founded a new way called Tariqat whose influence reached as far as different region that still is alive.

Criterion (iv): The ensemble is a fundamental prototype and an outstanding example of a religious complex, which contained all significant elements that from then on came to characterize that type of Khaneghah architecture. This complex of buildings is devoted to this old way of development and reflects the long-standing aspects of Iranian architecture in the Islamic era. It is a harmonious blend of different spaces and has a magnificent and beautiful overall appearance. The valuable buildings of this collection are the result of thought and thought and experience of architecture combined with Islamic mysticism and a predetermined design that has evolved into a peak of beauty. Its traditional technology specializes in making porches the pattern of other similar tomb complexes.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The authenticity of the site can be seen in all its elements including, design, ornaments, workmanship, location, setting, materials and the objects. The original place and location of the site has been maintained, also the authenticity of spirit and feeling has been preserved due to its memorial values. The authenticity of architectural design has been completely preserved. The design of majority of ornaments is in the original state as well as its structural design. Sheikh Ahmad Jāmi complex has unity and integrity concerning its all elements in design and decorations with the difference that is still a Khaneghah and a set of Mosques and one school. The visual integrity of the site has been completely preserved as well as its structural integrity in all parts and also its functional integrity is still alive in its original function.

Comparison with other similar properties

Sheikh Ahmad-e Jām Khaneghah & Mausoleum Complex can compare with a number of national as well as international Khānegāh such as Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh, The Khānegāh (Hospice) & Masoleum Complex of Bāyazid Bastāmi, Chalapi Oqlu Khānegāh and Mausoleum Complex in Soltānieh, Shāh Nematollah-e Valy Khānegāh, Sheikh Abdolsamad Khānegāh in Natanz, Sheikh Shahabeldin Mahmud Ahari Khānegāh, in Iran, in terms of either architecture designs and decorations. In some other important historic or world heritage Khanegāh- Mausoleum Complex such as: Molānā Jalāleddin Mohammad-e-Balkhi Khānegāh and Khwajeh Abdullah Ansari Complex in Afghanistan, The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan, The Pir Husein Khānegāh in Azarbaijan are able to comparison with each other.