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Isfahan attractions UNESCO Sites

The Grand Mosque of Isfahan

The Grand Mosque of Isfahan is one of the most important antique religious monuments in Iran. Also known as “the Atiq Mosque” and “the Jumu’ah Mosque”, is exactly in Qiyam Square, Allamah Majlesi Street. In fact, you find it in the old part of Isfahan, at the end of the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan. This mosque has various parts, each representing the development of architectural art in different periods of post-Islamic IranThe Grand Mosque of Isfahan

The mosque also houses several monuments, including four-iwan architectural style (Iwan is a vaulted open room), Shabestans (an underground space), Mozafari School, Nizam al-Mulk Dome, Taj al-Mulk Dome, Oljeitu Mihrab, and the famous four Iwans (Saheb, Ostad, Shagerd, and Darvish), etc.

The Grand Mosque of Isfahan

The Grand Mosque counts as the oldest historical monument in Isfahan. Some believe that the foundations of the building are laid on a structure of Sassanian period. The Grand Mosque has experienced ups and downs, damages and repairs due to the numerous fires and wars, through history. Unique Qashanis and Muqarnases, decorative Stuccos, beautiful pillars, and inscriptions are some of the eye-catching sights of this building. 

Architectural features of The Grand Mosque of Isfahan 

Most experts believe that the architectural style used in constructing the Grand Mosque of Isfahan reflects the Byzantine and classical art in the form of a traditional Islamic monument.

The current appearance of the mosque is mainly related to the activities of the Seljuk period. Having said that, the maintenance and extensions have been done during the later periods, especially the Safavid era. However, archaeological excavations have discovered artifacts dating back to the Buyid dynasty of 9th century AD, and pre-Islamic ones. The Grand Mosque of Isfahan

In fact, archeological excavations showed that the mosque was probably one of the most prominent religious centers of the city. Apparently people used it as a Fire Temple before the Muslim conquest of Persia occurred.

Discovering a pillar with the Sassanid decorations in this mosque confirms the existence of a monument before Islam. There are controversies over the history of the changes and developments of the mosque. However, it seems that it had been built in the early centuries of Islam during the Abbasid era. And its Mihrab was demolished in the 9th century AD to adjust its facing angle toward the Qibla. (Qibla is the direction that a Muslim should face when praying).

The Grand Mosque of Isfahan
The Grand Mosque of Isfahan

The Encyclopedia of architecture of Iran

The Grand Mosque of Isfahan contains the experiences of a thousand year of mosque building, especially the creation of the Iranian style of architecture. In this respect, it is possible to identify many styles of Iranian architectural as well as other neighboring countries in it. Creating a variety of adobe walls decorated with geometric designs, building brick pillars with different sections (such as bisection, trisection, and quadric section forms obtained by mixing circles), arches in all kinds of operating methods, four Iwans with different embellishments for each one, building huge joined double-shell domes with innovative methods, decorated and harmonic facades around the yard, ten portals leading to a passageway around the mosque, all of the above details eventually form a unique complex that could be called the continuous history and the Encyclopedia of architecture of Iran and some other parts, especially in central Asia.

Above all, the evolution occurred in it during the 11th century, turned the former “Shabestan mosque” into a “four-Iwan mosque”. Besides, this new style adopted the name of “the Iranian mosque”, compared to the Shabestan mosque design (related to the Arabian style). Since that period, most of the mosques in different cities of Iran have been built in the same “four-Iwan” style. And even some existing mosques had been changed to become a four-Iwan mosque. This pattern also spread to Muslim lands outside Iran. Therefore, the main value of the architecture of the Grand Mosque of Isfahan is being innovative in the history of oriental architecture.The Grand Mosque of Isfahan

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