Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Harmonious Blend of Art and Architecture
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Naghsh-e Jahan Square is one of the most splendid rectangular squares of the world, which is located at the heart of the city of Isfahan. Naghshe Jahan Square is a place where recounts countless stories from Isfahan in the 17th century to the present day. Therefore, it has kept an important part of Isfahan’s treasures in its chest.
Literally meaning image of the world, Naqsh-e Jahan square hosts a collection of historical monuments, such as the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, the Ali Qapu Palace, the Qeysariye Gate, and the Shah (Imam) Mosque. All in all, these monuments highlight the Islamic and Persian art and architecture in the Safavid era. Army parades, polo games, rituals, celebrations, and various performances were held in this so-called square, as well. Two stone polo gates are the valuable relics that have been remained from those days.
Besides, it is not only because of the historical importance of the square but also because of the aesthetics and architectural principles that the Naghsh-e Jahan Square has been popular among locals as well as tourists. So let’s get together and explore this dazzling attraction to know more about its secrets in detail. Here is a tour of Naqsh-e Jahan Square:
General Space and Atmosphere of the Naghsh-e Jahan Square
By entering Naghsh-e Jahan Square, you can find the traditional atmosphere of Isfahan, which is filled with the delicate sound of chalcography and the charming beauty of enamellers’ artworks. Children riding their bicycles, families spending time together, and graphics, art, and architecture students sketching the complex, are all the integral parts of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
The well-known Naghshe Jahan Square hosts a big pool with fountains dancing in the middle that is surrounded by historic buildings. Also, handicraft stores around the square, are the best place in this capital city of handicrafts, that you can find as many decorative artworks as possible. Everything is so spectacular and amazing that you may forget the passage of time.
So, sit on the stone benches in the square, and keep people watching for a while to get prepared for visiting the impressive buildings around the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, later.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
On the east side of the Naghsh-e Jahan Square, the beautiful dome of an impressive mosque attracts the attention of every passer-by, because unlike other mosques whose minarets face the blue sky, there is no minaret above it.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of Iran’s special mosques, which was built by Maestro Mohammad Reza Esfahani during the Safavid era. As a private mosque for members of the royal court, lots of intricate patterns of tiling are eloquent reminders of the Safavid period.
As soon as you enter the mosque, wait for a while until your eyes are accustomed to the shadowy area in front of you. Then, go ahead to the main dome chamber, where the harmony of colors and patterns of the dome, which is similar to those of the Persian carpet, and its particular way of lighting, won’t fail to mesmerize you.
Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu Palace is one of the most stunning monuments on the west side of the Naghshe Jahan Square, which was built during the Safavid era, by order of Shah Abbas I.. The wonderful 6-story mansion of Ali Qapu Palace invites you to its inner world with glorious decorations.
The secret behind the glory of this monument lies in its excellent miniatures done by the famous artist of the Safavid era, Reza Abbasi. Another spectacular part of the palace is the plasterworks of the top floor, known as the music room, where the patterns of various instruments can be seen.
Further, in terms of the political and cultural functions, the King’s most special and high-ranking guests were warmly welcomed in this palace during the special occasions in the Safavid era. The balcony on the 4th floor provided a suitable place for guests to watch different ceremonies happening in the plaza, including Nowruz and polo.
In the north corner of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and at the main entrance of Isfahan Grand Bazaar, Qeysarie Gate has stayed strong since the Safavid period. Qeysarie Gate was built on the command of Shah Abbas I and by the great architect of that time, Ali Akbar Esfahani.
The splendid Qeysarie Gate had had three floors but today two floors remain. The third floor, which has been destroyed, belonged to the Naghareh khaneh or Timpani House. In Neghareh Khaneh they played music to announce times of the day to people. The second floor pertained to office and commercial affairs and on the ground floor, there were chambers for trading.
Additionally, the magnificent Qeysarie Gate is ornamented with the delicate paintings, drawn by Reza Abbasi, and have been faded, due to the direct sunlight and humidity. This grand portal promises a different inner world of Qeysarie Bazaar, where you can feel the flow of life while watching the architectural and historical beauties.
Shah (Imam) Mosque
On the south side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square, beautiful minarets and a dome can be easily seen which belong to the Imam Mosque. Shah Mosque is one of the most significant historical mosques of Isfahan and an important structure of Islamic architecture in Iran. The Shah Mosque is a unique masterpiece of architecture, tiling, and carpentry of the 11th century.
In other words, apart from the spiritual, religious, historical, and cultural atmosphere, the Imam Mosque provides its visitors with aesthetic and architectural beauties such as the splendor of the colors in the tile works and inlays, and the grandeur of the dome chamber. Therefore, take your time exploring every corner of the mosque to not to miss any precious details.
Naghshe Jahan Square is not only a place to explore the history of this land, but you can also have fun and create different moments for yourself in the complex. Hence, if you are a fan of architecture, photography, history, and beauty, don’t forget to check it off on your bucket list.