Agha Bozorg Mosque Kashan: A Jewel of Qajar Architecture

To Iran Tour - Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

Welcome to the heart of Kashan, where history, art, and spirituality converge. Join us on a virtual tour of the exquisite Agha Bozorg Mosque, a masterpiece of Qajar architecture. We’ll explore its rich history, intricate design, and cultural significance. But our journey doesn’t stop there – we’ll also guide you to the best hotels, restaurants, and nearby attractions, ensuring your visit to Kashan is a truly enriching experience. Whether you’re planning a future trip or seeking a cultural adventure from home, let’s embark on this captivating exploration together.

History of Agha Bozorg Mosque Kashan

As we step into the enchanting world of Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan, let’s journey back to the middle of the 19th century when this architectural gem came to life. The mosque and school are attributed to Mullah Muhammad Mahdi Naraghi, affectionately known as Agha Bozorg. These magnificent structures owe their existence to the benevolence of Mohammad Taqi Khanban and his son.

To Iran Tour - Agha Bozorg Mosque Paintings - Kashan
Photo by Gwen Fran on flickr

Mullah Muhammad Mahdi Naraghi, a prominent mujtahid of Kashan, shares his name with his father. To avoid confusion, the father is respectfully called “Agha Bozorg”, which is something similar to Senior in English. Following in his father’s footsteps, the younger Agha Bozorg also achieved the status of ijtihad. It’s worth noting that Mohammad Shah Qajar recognized the scholarly prowess of Agha Bozorg, bestowing upon him this honored title after a meeting with Kashan’s scholars.

Under the patronage of Haj Mohammad Taqi Khanban, who was both the ruler and father-in-law of Mullah Mohammad Mehdi Naraghi, a mosque and school were erected for his son-in-law’s teachings. This impressive complex came to fruition during the reign of Muhammad Shah Qajar, who passed away in 1848. You can still visit this historical treasure today, nestled in the heart of Kashan’s old city, on Agha Bozorg Valley.

Architecture of Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

The architectural grandeur of Agha Bozorg Mosque unfolds before your eyes, a testament to the opulence of the Qajar era. Construction commenced during the reign of Muhammad Shah Qajar, reaching completion during Naser al-Din Shah’s rule (1848-1895).

This complex seamlessly integrates various architectural elements, fusing the Shabestan (bed chamber), mosque, monastery, mausoleum, and school into a harmonious whole. Moreover, it incorporates the clever use of traditional climatic elements, exemplified by its garden pit (Baghchal) and wind catchers.

What is Garden Pit (Baghchal)?

Baghchal, an integral part of Iranian architecture, is a lowered section within the central courtyard. This excavation enhances earthquake resistance and facilitates access to the aqueduct’s water.

What is Wind Catcher?

ToIranTour - Yazd Wind catchers
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The ingenious Iranian technique of wind catchers graces the rooftops, ushering cool and refreshing breezes indoors. This method, particularly prevalent in desert cities, provides a natural cooling system.

Agha Bozor Mosque and School epitomize the splendor of Iranian architecture. This multi-story marvel, a rarity with its five levels, adheres to the principles of Islamic architecture. Notably, the dome, supported by eight massive pillars, ensures a comfortable climate year-round. The intricate plasterwork, vibrant paintings, and stunning tiling harmoniously create a captivating ambiance.

Sustainability of the Construction Process

An environmentally conscious approach was employed during construction. Soil excavated from the site was repurposed into building materials, minimizing waste and reducing the need for external resources.

Parts of Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

To Iran Tour - Agha Bozorg Mosque Entrance - Kashan
Photo by Bastian Sander on flickr
  1. Pir Neshin: The first part of Agha Bozorg Mosque and School is Pir Neshin. It refers to the platforms in front of the door. It was used as a resting place for middle-aged people and passers-by.
  2. Entrance and Pediment: Adorned with carved decorations, an inscribed ode graces the entrance, with 6666 nails symbolizing the Quranic verses.
  3. Hashti: A covered area following the entrance, flanked by servant’s quarters, leading to roofed corridors granting access to the courtyard, mosque, and Agha Bozorg School.
  4. Mahtabi or Winter Residence: An open area used during winter, featuring strategically placed marble stones that allow light to filter through, illuminating the lower floor.
  5. Central Court: Comprising a garden pit courtyard and a ground floor courtyard, both accessible via stairs. The garden pit courtyard is dedicated to the school, featuring a central pond and four surrounding gardens. The ground floor courtyard is expansive, facilitating access to and from the lower level.
  6. Shabestan: Agha Bozorg Mosque boasts three Shabestans, including the western one with 20 columns and 30 brick arches. The winter Shabestan resides on the north side, adorned with brick and stone columns. Finally, the south-front mezzanine Shabestan serves as a mosque, with cracks in its roof inviting natural light.

A portion of the Agha Bozorg Mosque Momplex now houses the National Library, adding a scholarly touch to this historic site.

How to Get to Agha Bozorg Mosque

Finding your way to Agha Bozorg Mosque is a breeze as it’s centrally located in Kashan. Here’s the precise address: Aqha Bozorg Alley, Pamenar Street, Fazel Naraqi Street, Kashan City, Isfahan Province. You can opt for shared city taxis and enjoy a leisurely stroll to savor the beauty of Kashan along the way. Alternatively, private taxis or online platforms like Snapp, Tapsi, and Maxim are available.

Visiting Hours and Ticket Price

Agha Bozorg Mosque remains open to visitors from 9 AM to 8 PM, and entry is free. Please be mindful of congregational prayers, respecting the worshippers during their moments of devotion.

Best Time to Visit Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

Kashan’s climate can be quite warm and dry, making spring the ideal season to explore Agha Bozorg Mosque and School. Tourists flock to Kashan, especially during the Gulabgiri (Rose Water Ceremony) in Ordibehesht month (April-May), when the city exudes a fragrant charm. As autumn sets in, temperatures become milder, while winter sees the temperature drop to its lowest.

Best Hotels Near Agha Bozorg Mosque Kashan

To Iran Tour - Saraye Ameriha - Kashan
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When it comes to choosing the perfect place to stay near Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan, you’re in for a delightful treat with these top-notch options:

  • Shirin Hotel & Hostel: Nestled in the heart of Kashan’s historic area, Shirin Hotel & Hostel offers easy access to all the city’s historical treasures, including the traditional Bazaar, mosques, and houses. This charming accommodation allows guests to explore Kashan’s heritage on foot while experiencing the warmth of traditional Iranian hospitality.
  • Amirza Traditional Hostel: Located in the historical center of Kashan, Amirza Traditional Hostel is a 130-year-old gem. Recently restored, this residence boasts proximity to iconic attractions like Tabatabaei House, Borujerdi House, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bath, and more, all within a 5-minute walk.
  • Noghli Traditional Hotel: Also known as Noghli House, this traditional guesthouse in Kashan offers a home-like atmosphere. Friendly staff, serene surroundings, and a calm atmosphere make it a popular choice. Don’t miss out on their local dishes at reasonable prices.
  • Sarva Boutique Hotel: Step back in time at Sarva House Boutique Hotel, a 200-year-old establishment with only five rooms. Experience a memorable stay amidst its historical charm.
  • Kamal al-Molk Guest House: Another historical gem, Kamal al-Molk Guest House, provides a memorable stay in a beautiful boutique hotel with a rich history.
  • Khademi Traditional Hotel: Offering amenities like a restaurant, wireless internet, coffee shop, green space, laundry, and private parking, Khademi Traditional Hotel combines convenience and comfort for your stay.
  • Saraye Ameriha Boutique Hotel: Ameris’ House, Kashan’s largest traditional house that has been transformed into a 5-star hotel, has 38 rooms, two restaurants, a coffee shop, and a gallery. It offers a luxurious though traditional experience.
  • SangPoloy Boutique Hotel: This recently renovated mansion from the Qajar era has been converted into a cozy boutique hotel. Located in an old, quiet alley, it’s close to Kashan’s top attractions, including Borujerdi House and Tabatabaei House. Each of its thirteen individual bedrooms provides a peaceful retreat, and guests can enjoy a traditional Iranian breakfast in the pond-house complex.

Best Restaurants Near Agha Bozorg Mosque Kashan

Indulge in the rich flavors of Iranian cuisine at these exceptional restaurants near Agha Bozorg Mosque:

  1. Morshedi Traditional Restaurant: Experience the charm of dining in an old house with traditional Iranian architecture. Morshedi serves various Iranian dishes, including kebabs, rice dishes, soups, salads, and traditional Kashan specialties. Don’t miss out on their plum meatballs and traditional Iranian drinks.
  2. Mozaffari Traditional Restaurant: This restaurant offers a serene atmosphere with a central water pond, traditional Iranian windows, and a warm ambiance. Their menu is divided into a cafe and canteen, offering hot and cold drinks, shakes, ice cream, traditional Iranian syrups, Persian tea, herbal teas, and more. The restaurant offers a diverse menu of Iranian cuisine, including meat, fish, Dizi, and vegetarian-friendly options like Kashk-e Bademjaan and Zeytoon Parvardeh. Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, you’ll find delightful options here.
  3. Abbasi Traditional Persian Restaurant: With a diverse menu catering to meat lovers, vegetarians, and dessert enthusiasts, Abbasi Traditional Persian Restaurant has something for everyone. From shishlik kebabs to meatless Iranian soups and stews, vegetable dishes, teas, coffee, cakes, shakes, and ice creams, you’ll savor a wide range of flavors.
  4. Negin Traditional Restaurant: Enjoy the magnificent setting of this restaurant, set in a spacious, beautiful building with traditional Iranian architecture. Negin serves a delicious variety of dishes, along with a cafe section, ensuring you have a fantastic experience of tasting traditional Iranian food.

Best Attractions Near Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

While exploring the vicinity of Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan, don’t miss these remarkable nearby attractions:

Tabatabaei Historical House: Often referred to as the “bride of the houses of Iran,” Tabatabaei House boasts impeccable architecture and exquisite beauty. It showcases elements of Iranian architecture, including stucco art, mirrors, climate-adapted construction, tile art, and wall paintings. This stately 18th-century mansion, now a museum, is just a 15-minute walk from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

To Iran Tour - Inside Tabatabaei House - Kashan
Photo by Mostafa Meraji on Unsplash

Bazaar of Kashan: You’ll be thrilled to know that the bazaars in Iran are absolutely charming and full of life. It’s a well-known fact that they are a hub of energy and definitely worth a visit! Delve into the bustling world of the Bazaar of Kashan, a vast trade area with various architectural styles reflecting its thousand-year history. The Timche-ye Amin od-Dowleh section, built in the 19th century, is especially noteworthy. You can reach it with an 8-minute walk from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

To Iran Tour - Bazaar of Kashan
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Steve House: Discover a captivating photo gallery dedicated to the work of American photographer Steve McCurry, known for his iconic “Afghan Girl” photograph. It’s a must-see for photography enthusiasts and history buffs alike, located just 11 minutes away on foot from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

Taj Historical House: The Taj Historical House, now an Artists House, offers a cultural experience with an expansive space and native architecture. Featuring a garden, cellar, two courtyards, and thirteen rooms, it’s a testament to Kashan’s architectural heritage. Explore this attraction, which is only a 10-minute walk from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse: Step back in time at this traditional Iranian public bathhouse, constructed during the Safavid era in the 16th century. While it experienced damage in the 1778 earthquake, it was renovated during the Qajar era. Named after Imamzadeh Sultan Amir Ahmad, it’s just a 10-minute walk from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

Borujerdi House: Visit the Borujerdi House, a historic house museum renowned for its architectural beauty. Built in 1857, it showcases the craftsmanship of architect Ustad Ali Maryam. This attraction is a 12-minute walk from Agha Bozorg Mosque.

House of Lucie: Immerse yourself in photography at the House of Lucie, a combination of a restored Qajar-era house and two modern homes. It houses over 300 photographs by masters of photography and offers a unique perspective on visual storytelling. Located about 15 minutes away on foot from Agha Bozorg Mosque, it’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

FAQs about Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan

Q1: What is the history of Agha Bozorg Mosque?

A1: Agha Bozorg Mosque is a prominent landmark in Kashan, showcasing the pinnacle of Qajar architectural artistry. This historical mosque holds cultural and religious importance, making it a must-visit attraction.

Q2: Who was Agha Bozorg, and why is this mosque named after him?

A2: Agha Bozorg, also known as Mullah Muhammad Mahdi Naraghi, was a highly respected Shia scholar and mujtahid (Islamic jurist) in Kashan. The mosque bears his name in honor of his scholarly contributions and his family’s legacy.

Q3: Can you describe some of the architectural highlights of Agha Bozorg Mosque?

A3: Certainly! Agha Bozorg Mosque boasts remarkable features like a captivating central courtyard, traditional wind catchers for natural ventilation, and an innovative garden pit (Baghchal) that enhances earthquake resistance, reflecting the brilliance of Persian architecture.

Q4: What hotels are near Agha Bozorg Mosque?

A4: Kashan offers several lodging options within proximity to Agha Bozorg Mosque. Some popular choices include Shirin Hotel & Hostel, Amirza Traditional Hostel, Noghli Traditional Hotel, and more, providing convenient access to the mosque and other attractions.

Q5: Are there any restaurants nearby where I can savor traditional Iranian cuisine?

A5: Indeed, Kashan offers a delightful culinary experience. You can relish authentic Iranian dishes at restaurants like Morshedi Traditional Restaurant, Mozaffari Traditional Restaurant, Abbasi Traditional Persian Restaurant, and Negin Traditional Restaurant, all located in the vicinity.

Q6: What are the other attractions I can explore within walking distance of Agha Bozorg Mosque?

A6: Kashan is a treasure trove of historical sites. You can explore Tabatabaei Historical House, the bustling Bazaar of Kashan, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, Borujerdi House, the captivating House of Lucie, and the intriguing Steve House, all just a short walk away.

Q7: When is the best time to plan a visit to Agha Bozorg Mosque and Kashan?

A7: To make the most of your visit, consider coming in the spring when the weather is pleasant, and you can immerse yourself in the mesmerizing Gulabgiri (Rose Water) ceremony. Summers can be hot, while autumn offers moderate temperatures. Winters are chilly but ideal for fewer crowds.

Q8: Is there an entrance fee to visit Agha Bozorg Mosque?

A8: No, there is no entrance fee to visit Agha Bozorg Mosque. However, please remember that it remains an active place of worship, so be respectful, especially during congregational prayers.

Q9: When is the Agha Bozorg Mosque open?

A9: Agha Bozorg Mosque remains open to visitors from 9 AM to 8 PM, and entry is free.

Discover Agha Bozorg Mosque and More with To Iran Tour

Ready to explore the wonders of Agha Bozorg Mosque and the enchanting city of Kashan, along with other mesmerizing historical sites in Iran? Join us at To Iran Tour, where we curate exceptional travel experiences to introduce you to the beauty, culture, and heritage of this remarkable country. Our expertly crafted packages offer you the opportunity to delve into the rich history of Agha Bozorg Mosque, stroll through Kashan’s historic streets, and uncover hidden gems across Iran. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking an adventure, our tours cater to every traveler.

Discover the magic of Iran with our dedicated team, ensuring you have an unforgettable journey filled with captivating stories and cherished memories. Start your Iranian odyssey with us today!

To Iran Tour – Explore Agha Bozorg Mosque and Beyond!

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