Jameh Mosque

Jameh Mosque Mosques World Heritages

One of the oldest and most important religious structures of Iran, the Jame Mosque of Isfahan is magnificent example of the evolution of mosque architecture as well as the development of Islamic arts over twelve centuries. . The mosque is the result of continual construction, reconstruction, additions and renovations on the site from around 771 to the end of the 20th century. The origins of this mosque lie in the 8th century, but it was burnt down and was rebuilt again in the 11th century during the Seljuq dynasty and went through remodeling many times. In fact the complex, covering more than 20,000 m2, is also the first Islamic building that adapted the four-courtyard layout of Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most completed domes built of brick on earth. The south dome was built in 1086–87 by Nizam ol Mulk, the famous minister of Malik Shah and was larger than any dome known at its time. Inside the dome has been adored with Mongol-era stalactite mouldings and two minarets. The north dome was constructed a year later by Nizam ol Mulk’s rival Taj al Mulk as a direct riposte to the earlier south dome, and successfully so, claiming its place as a masterpiece in Persian architecture for its structural clarity and geometric balance. Its inside is filled with massive cursive Quranic inscriptions. Unlike its simple brick exterior, the interior of the mosque has intricate stucco reliefs as well as lavish brickwork, tilework, moqarnas and mo’arraq decorations. In the Safavid era, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) had polymath Sheikh Baha’i (1547- 1621) design the Imam (Shah) Mosque or Jame Abbasi Mosque in Naqsh-e Jahan Square to replace this mosque as the new venue for the Friday Prayers. The original Mihrab (prayer niche) of the Jame Mosque has inscription bands dating mainly from the time of Shah Tahmasp (1514-1576) and Shah Abbas II (1632- 1666). These inscriptions catalogue renovation and decoration efforts, and praise the 12 Shia Imams. Isfahan Jameh Mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012.

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