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The Magnificent Jame Mosque of Isfahan

Jame Mosque of Isfahan is one of the most important and oldest religious buildings in Iran. The current appearance of the mosque is mainly related to the actions of the Seljuk period, but its repairs and additions are related to later periods, especially the Safavid era. Archaeological excavations have found artifacts belonging to the Buyid dynasty period and the third century AH. Pre-Islamic artifacts have also been discovered in the same excavations.

The various parts of the Isfahan Jameh Mosque, which has been added to the World Heritage List, have been formed for nearly two thousand years and have been renovated or rebuilt during these years. Regarding this historical monument, which is now thousands of years old, the most important development plans have been implemented during the Buyid dynasty period and were formed during the Safavid period.

In general, as much as Naghsh-e Jahan Square and the surrounding historical buildings are reminiscent of Safavid-era architecture and art, the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan and the surrounding neighborhoods tell the story of life in the Seljuk era and earlier.

History of Isfahan Jameh Mosque

Isfahan Jameh Mosque is one of the most prominent architectural works of not only Iran but also the world. And since its different parts have been built and studied in different historical periods, the present collection shows the evolution of Iranian architecture in the Islamic period and even before that.

When Shah Abbas I (a Safavid dynasty ruler) decided to move the capital of his empire from Qazvin to Isfahan in the late 16th century, he designed a completely new imperial and mercantile center away from the old Seljuk city. The new square and its adjoining buildings are renowned for their exquisite decorations.

Jame Mosque of Isfahan
Jame Mosque of Isfahan – by Frank Schwellnus

Isfahan’s prestige among the early modern cities of the world shows the reflection of the significance of the Seljuk mosque and its influence on the population. Archaeological excavations indicate that this mosque was probably an important religious center of the city before the Arab domination of the city and was used as one of the fire temples of Isfahan.

It seems that the construction of the Jameh Mosque dates back to the early centuries AH. Also, during the Abbasid period was when its altar was destroyed in the third century AH and the direction of its qibla was improved.

The Architecture of the Jame Mosque of Isfahan

Isfahan Jameh Mosque is a great example of Iranian architecture throughout the years. It can be seen not only in the thousand-year architectural experiences of mosque construction, especially the creation of the design of the Iranian mosque but also many styles of the history of architecture of Iran and neighboring countries can be identified in it.

With the changes that took place in the fifth century AH (11th century AD), the previous Shabestani mosque became a four-aisled mosque. This new method adopted the name of the Iranian mosque design (called Chahartaqi) in comparison with the Shabestani design (focusing on Arabic culture).

Since that time, most of the Congregational mosque in the big cities of Iran were built in the same style with four iwans, and even in some existing mosques, changes were made to turn it into a four-porch mosque. This pattern extended to Muslim lands outside Iran.

Therefore, the main value of the architecture of the Isfahan Jameh Mosque is that it has played the role of a pioneer model in the history of Iranian architecture. This project, as the design of the Iranian Mosque, is unique among the world’s Congregational mosques, which led to the creation of other mosques in Iran and Central Asia

Different parts of Isfahan Jameh Mosque

South Dome

The dome and forty columns around it are located in the south porch of the mosque and were built between the years 465 to 485 AH. This dome was built during the reign of the Seljuk king and the ministry of Khajeh Nizam al-Mulk and is one of the rare examples of buildings of the Seljuk era. The porch in front of this brick dome was built in the early sixth century AH. This dome has the most beautiful decorative designs made of brick and plaster.

South dome of Jame Mosque of Isfahan
South dome of Jame Mosque of Isfahan – by Antonio Velardo

Porch of Darvish

The north porch of the mosque is known as Sefeh Darvish from the sixth century and the plaster inscription inside it is from the period of Shah Suleiman the Safavid. On both sides of the north and north porches, there are forty columns from the sixth century AH, especially the forty eastern columns, which have numerous arches with different brick designs and are considered as interesting parts of this great historical building.

North Dome

The dome, which is located in the northern part of the mosque lies on a longitudinal axis right across the double-arcaded courtyard. This opposite placement and varied decoration underscore the political enmity between the respective patrons. Each dome vies for primacy through its position and architectural articulation. Nizam al-Mulk, (minister) to Malik Shah I, commissioned the qibla dome in 1086.

Brick Dome of Jame Mosque of Isfahan
Brick Dome of Jame Mosque of Isfahan – by Martin Yhlen

Uljaitu Mosque

In the north of one of the porches, a small nave contains the most beautiful altar of the mosque. This nave, also known as Uljaitu Mosque, has an altar that is a great example of Iranian art in the world. On this beautiful altar, the name of the famous Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh Ilkhan can be seen. The most beautiful inlaid pulpit in Isfahan Jameh Mosque is also located in this mosque. The year of its construction is not mentioned.

Nizam al-Mulk Library

The southeastern nave of the mosque, which probably contained the huge and famous library of Khajeh Nizam al-Molk, was destroyed in the bombing of the city of Isfahan and was rebuilt in the primary method. This exquisite and magnificent work is of great technical and artistic importance due to having various examples of different Islamic periods and is world-famous.

Library of Masjed Jame of Isfahan
Library of Masjed Jame of Isfahan – by youngrobv

Sahib Porch

The south porch of the Grand Mosque is called Sahib Porch and a simple Sangab is located in front of it. This Sangab is located in the middle of a pool of rectangular stone and five gorges are designed on its edge.

Now, if you want to travel to Isfahan, we suggest you join us to create the best for you in half the world. In addition, if you have traveled to Isfahan before, you can write your comments so that our readers can benefit from your travel experiences.

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