Mosques of Iran are known as perfect illustrations of Islamic Persian architecture. The Persian word masjed literally means a place for worship and since early days of Islam it has been the focal point of worship, teaching, learning and has acted as a community base for Muslims in Iran.
Iran has some of earliest examples and showcases a wealth of architecturally magnificent ones. The history of these mosques is often intertwined with the regional histories and events, often with national repercussion and present local artistic flairs and environmental influences.
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The fundamental elements of a mosque are the courtyard, Iwan or the prayer hall, a dome, a mihrab depicting the orientation towards Mecca, a menbar or the pulpit and usually one or two minarets from which the faithful are called to pray and worship. From the most unknown gems in remote parts of the country to the sublime mosque complexes of Isfahan visitors to our ancient land are amazed at their spirituality, glory and architectural prowess. The main mosques, masjid-e- Jame, of the cities and towns are often part of a broader municipal complex of bazars and bath houses.
Some of the most famous mosques of Iran
The mosques of Ferdows in south Khorasasn, Tarikhaneh in Damghan and Fahraj in Yazd province are thought to be the oldest and are all from 7th and 8th centuries (AD). Tarikhaneh Mosque predates the other two as its spiritual connections pre-dates the Islamic era. Architecturally speaking most Iranian domes and arches are constructed in the Sassanid tradition which predates Islam. There are countless superb examples of mosques in every corner of our country and pictures and descriptions cannot do justice to their beauty and spirituality.
Sheikh Lotfollah and Imam (Shah) mosques in Isfahan’s 17th century(AD) Imperial complex are perhaps the most renowned, but their fame cannot outshine other architectural jewels which have defined Iran as the land of the most beautiful mosques. The 18th century(AD) Agha Bozorg mosque and seminary of Kashan or the 19th century (AD) Nasir al-Molk mosque of Shiraz are masterpieces.
The 15th (AD) century Blue Mosque a survivor of Tabriz’s devastating 18th century(AD) earthquake sets a mighty high bar in artistry and architecture.
Nasir-al-Molk Mosque: A whirlwind of colour and pattern in praise of God
There are numerous mosques all around the world, all with their own character and design, mostly following known traditions, what distinguishes the Nasir al-Molk Mosque in Shiraz is its mixture of bold and unconventional architecture and impressive colour pallet. Due to the prevalent use of pink glazed tiles, the mosque is often referred to as the Pink Mosque.
Here the natural light playfully intertwines with worship. The whole mosque comes to life at day break when the sun rays hit the colourful glazed tiles and filter through coloured glass windows, casting colourful patterns on floors and walls. Visitors are not immune and tourist try to capture the colourful dapples on each other clothes and faces.
Sheikh Lotf Allah mosque: A gem shining in Naqsh-e-Jahan square
The mosque of Sheikh Lotfollah was built by the orders of Shah Abbas in the first half of 17th century (AD) for the royal family as a place of worship and religious lessons and discourse. It is located on the eastern stretch of Naqsh-e Jahan Square and opposite the Ali Qapu palace. The mosque was connected to the palace via a subterranean walkway across the square.
The plan of the mosque is unique in its simplicity and yet its intricate tile work is sophisticated and peerless.
The unique choice of the coloured tiles for the dome both internally and externally distinguishes this mosque from the grander and more public Imam Mosque to the south of the square. The mosque has an intimate yet grand feel to it and once inside one cannot take one’s eyes off its richly and intricately decorated dome and walls. The visitor can only marvel at the effect of the natural light filtering through high level windows, creating beguiling reflections.
Persian Blue tour
Modern cities, ancient citadels, spectacular architecture and mouth-watering food; welcome to Iran, the home to some of the most hospitable people on earth – and one of the most fascinating travel destinations you will ever visit. It’s time to come.