Iran is the country of exquisite architecture. From the ruins of Persepolis to the gorgeous Persian gardens, from the Qajar era mansions to the elegant mosques, every prominent historical and cultural attraction of Iran depicts the remarkable architecture of the country throughout history. Besides featuring a lot of pre-Islamic monuments, Iran is home to some of the most admired mosques of the world. Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, a UNESCO world heritage site is one of the very famous ones of them. Here are the top reasons why you should make it a point to visit this marvel of Isfahan!
The Historic Value of Jameh Mosque of Isfahan
This mosque is the oldest historical monument of Isfahan. It was built in the 8th century which means approximately 1300 years ago and is regarded as the oldest religious complex of Iran. It was burnt down and rebuilt in the 11th century but was remodeled frequently throughout history.
Interestingly, each section of this mosque was built in a specific post-Islamic era of Iran. Therefore, it can be referred to as a huge museum which displays the transition of Iranian architecture. Even the archeologists believe that it might have been a fire temple during the pre-Islamic era of the country.
What we see as the main appearance of the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan today was mostly built during the Seljuk era. But the main restorations of the mosque were done during the period of Safavid dynasty.
Each addition and transition in the architecture of this complex was in response to the cultural and artistic taste, religious expectations and political needs of the dynasties that ruled throughout time. Seljuks, Teymouris, Deylamians and Safavids each added a new flair to this old beautiful mosque. That’s why you should walk among its halls, explore its details, touch its walls and find peace in its tranquil corners. You will never forget this experience.
The Architectural Significance
As said earlier, since Jameh Mosque of Isfahan was completed and developed during several historical periods, it features the architectural characteristics of different eras of Iran. This mosque displays the four-iwan architectural style which includes four gates that stand face to face.
But what is an iwan?
Iwan is a word used to refer to vaulted open rooms that play an important role In Iranian architecture. As you visit this magnificent religious complex, you’ll see some of the best examples of post-Islamic iwans which make one of the most important sections of a mosque. Not to mention that most photographers can hardly leave the iwans of Jameh Mosque of Isfahan before taking hundreds of pictures!
Highlights of the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan
As there are so many beautiful mosques in Iran to visit, you may ask what makes this one so special. There are some features about the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan which make it a distinguished Islamic architectural structure. Here are the most prominent parts of the mosque that you must make sure to visit during your travel to Isfahan.
Dating back to Deylamian era, this hall features magnificent round pillars that divide it to several walkways. Wandering among the mysterious hallways of Shabestan feels like getting lost in history
The Southern Dome: an Example of Seljuk Architecture
One of the very rare monuments of Seljuk era, this brick dome features some of the best examples of plaster and brick decorations.
This noteworthy Iwan dates back to the 6th century A.H and the plaster inscription inside it dates back to the Safavid Suleiman Shah. It is one of the most beautiful sections of the Jameh Mosque for sure.
Another Seljuk architectural monument, this Iwan has ornaments from the Gharaghuyunlu and Safavid era. In addition, you can see some inscriptions from different periods such as Safavid dynasty kingdom in this section.
Built during the Seljuk era and decorated with beautiful tile-work in the period of Safavid dynasty, Ostad Iwan depicts astonishing Persian calligraphy that is a must-see for every art admirer.
Omar Iwan, like the Ostad Iwan was built during the reign of Seljuk dynasty and later ornamented during the Safavid era. Also some examples of Ilkhanid art and design can be found among the ornamentations of this section of the Jameh mosque of Isfahan.
On the north of the Ostad Iwan, lays a small hall displaying a gorgeous Mihrab – a semi-circular niche in the wall of the mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca to prayers – with an astonishing plaster work. This small yet magnificent Mihrab is a world-famous Iranian piece of art.
The Winter Hall
As you enter the Winter Hall of the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, you get amazed by the tent shaped rooms and short wide pillars of it which remind you of the stories of one thousand and one nights. An alabaster stone in the middle of each room brings an eye catching shine to the hall. This section of the mosque was built during the Teymourian era and is very different to what you expect to see in a typical Iranian mosque.
Khajeh Nezam al-Molk Library
Located in the east-south of the complex, lays a great hall which is guessed to have been the famous magnificent library of Khajeh Nezam al-molk. Unfortunately, it was ruined after a bombard in Isfahan but was restored later and is now regarded as one of the most valuable sections of the Jameh mosque of Isfahan.
Want to visit the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan?
If you are interested in visiting this magnificent historical masterpiece, you need to travel to Isfahan, the city that is home to other UNESCO world heritage sites as well! The famous Naqsh-e-Jahan Square and the beloved Nasir-almolk Mosque are other reasons to fly to this lovely city and make great memories! If you are into itineraries focused on historical and cultural attractions, a classical Iran tour must be the perfect choice for you! Iran is a paradise for the lovers of arts and architecture! So contact us at Land of Turquoise Domes for more information about our itineraries and pack for an amazing trip to Iran!