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10 beautiful mosques in Iran that shouldn't be missed

10 beautiful mosques in Iran that shouldn't be missed

Mosques are the most important architectural monuments throughout the Islamic history of Iran, with congregational mosques in particular enjoying an exceptional status. Iranian mosques are among the top attractions that travelers visit in Iran to learn about the architecture and culture during Islamic Period in Iran.

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June 23, 2020

All along the Islamic history, there has been no city without possessing a congregational mosque. Mosques were at once a place of worship, social gathering, education, discussion, judging and solving problems, an abode for homeless strangers and travelers, and an arena for artists and architects to display their skills. In this article we are about to introduce some of the most splendid mosques of Iran though it is absolutely difficult to choose only 10 mosques out of hundreds of fascinating Iranian mosques!

1- Antique Friday Mosque (Masjid Jame Atiq) – Isfahan - 11th century

This mosque is one of the greatest building in the world, which reveals more than 900 years of Persian architecture in twenty distinct structures varying from the eleventh to eighteenth centuries. The highlights of this mosque, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, include a huge four iwans courtyard, two sanctuaries topped with two amazing domes, the Taj Al Molk Dome considered as the most perfect dome because of its marvelous design, and a small 13th century prayer hall with its prayer niche (Mehrab) known as Uljaito Mehrab, decorated with breathtaking stuccos.

Isfahan Antique Friday Mosque

Antique Friday Mosque - Isfahan

2- Sheikh Lutf Allah Mosque - Isfahan - 17th century

The magnificent Sheikh Lutf Allah Mosque, was constructed in 1602 by the order of the King Abbas I, as a private chapel for the women of the Shah’s Harem. The sanctuary of the mosque is topped with a wonderful dome, which rests on a drum with sixteen regularly spaced windows which together with a huge window in the northern wall trap the maximum amount of natural light into the interior space.  The tile and mosaic decoration of the mosque is really spectacular. Blue color predominates in the tile work, but there is an unusual amount of buff, and as in the exterior, there is the flickering contrast between glazed and unglazed tiles. Nowhere in Islamic architecture calligraphy could be used more dramatically. The Mehrab – prayer niche- adorned with Moqarnas – hanging cornices- is an outstanding example of faience mosaic decoration. Sheikh Lutfullah is truly an amazing yet simple mosque that leaves every visitor speechless.

Sheikh Lutf Allah Mosque - Isfahan

 Sheikh Lutf Allah Mosque - Isfahan 

3- Abbasi Friday mosque (Masjid Shah) – Isfahan - 17th century

This mosque is the largest and one of the most magnificent monuments of Safavid period (17th century). The construction of Abbasi Friday mosque, which took 18 years to be finished, can be claimed to be the final perfection of mosque building in Iran. The grandeur of the portal screen, its impressive double shelled dome with amazing interior and exterior ornaments, the rhythmical repetition of the structural elements, symmetrical arcades, and balanced iwans are the reasons why this mosque is magnificent. Also, an important innovation employed in Abbasi Friday mosque was the vast usage of seven color tiles in place of faience mosaic tiles.

 

Abbasi Friday mosque (Masjid Shah) – Isfahan

4- Nasir al- Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) – Shiraz - 19th century

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is a brilliant piece of art and architecture which was constructed between 1876 and 1888, during the Qajar Dynasty in Shiraz. With no doubt Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, is one of the most beautiful mosques in Iran. This mosque is known as the pink mosque because of its magnificent tile work decoration, mostly in pink. Another fabulous highlight of the mosque is the main prayer hall of the mosque which is adorned with beautiful tiles and stain glass windows creating a gorgeous light inside the prayer hall.

Nasir al- Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) – Shiraz

Nasir al- Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) – Shiraz

5- Yazd Jame Mosque – 14th century

This fabulous mosque is the focus of a complex of buildings related to various periods and styles in Yazd. Most probably this mosque was initially built instead of a Sassanid fire temple in 8th century and got developed in 1324. The mosque is famous for its outstanding entrance portal which with its minarets is the highest in Iran, its amazing ornaments including mosaic decoration and the calligraphies, and the main sanctuary which is topped with a gorgeous dome notable from afar.

Yazd Jame Mosque

Yazd Jame Mosque

6- Nain Friday Mosque - 10-11th century

This ancient and perfectly intact congregational mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Iran, and is believed to be constructed in 7th century, however an archeological survey on the site showed that the mosque was reconstructed in the mid-10th century. The mosque was built according to the primeval Arab plan. The mosque’s underground prayer hall lit by marble plates set into floor of the courtyard, its prayer pulpit (Minbar) which is carved out of wood and is the most valuable in Isfahan region, and the marvelous stucco works are the highlights of this mosque.

Nain Friday Mosque

Nain Friday Mosque

7- Goharshad Mosque - Mashhad - 15th century

This spectacular mosque is located inside the Imam Reza Holy Shrine Complex in the city of Mashhad, and is the greatest surviving Persian monument of the Teimurid Period (15th century). The portal of the mosque continues the Samarkand style of arch within arch, enriched by a succession of bevels and reveals which give it depth and power. The whole court façade is covered with enamel brick and mosaic of the best quality. There are magnificent frizzes of calligraphy - mostly Thuluth script- all around the facade of the mosque. The thick minarets merging with the outer corners of the portal give the impression of strength to the mosque. The full scale of colors includes a dominant cobalt blue and turquoise, white, green and yellow.

Goharshad Mosque - Mashhad

Goharshad Mosque - Mashhad

8- Agha Bozorg Mosque - Kashan - 19th century

The imposing Agha Bozorg Mosque and Madrasah is located in the oasis city of Kashan. This 19th century mosque boasts a pleasing symmetry in its traditional design that is adorned by elaborate plasterwork, woodwork, mirrorwork, geometric tilework patterns, an eye- catching portal and its doubled shelled dome, which is the highest structure in Kashan. Because of the arid climate of Kashan, the sanctuary was opened on every side to provide ventilation and air conditioning of the structure. The courtyard of the mosque is sunken and is on two levels.  There are 12 chambers which are used as dorms by the students of Islamic theology who are studying in this madrasah.

Agha Bozorg Mosque - Kashan

Agha Bozorg Mosque - Kashan

9- Vakil Mosque - Shiraz - 18th century

This mosque was built on the order of king Karimkhan-e Zand during 18th century in Shiraz. The iwans and courtyard of Vakil Mosque are decorated with typical Shirazi Haft Rangi (7colors) tiles. The magnificent main prayer hall of the mosque contains 48 spiral pillars which are cut out of one piece of stone. This prayer hall is decorated with a beautiful ceiling and an impressive marble prayer pulpit.

Vakil Mosque - Shiraz

Vakil Mosque - Shiraz

10- Chaharbagh Mosque and Madrasah - Isfahan - 17th century

The splendid chaharbagh mosque and madrasah marks the final achievement of the Safavid Period in Persian architecture. The entrance portal of Chahrbagh madrasah and mosque is decorated with a fantastic mosaic decoration and lovely Muqarnases (hanging cornices). The madrasah has a charming courtyard which is shaded by plane trees and a beautiful marbled edge pool in its center. The courtyard is surrounded by two story chambers used as students’ dorms and their façades are decorated with mosaics. The highlight of Charbagh madrasah is the spectacular dome which is on top of the sanctuary.

Chaharbagh Mosque and Madrasah - Isfahan

Chaharbagh Mosque and Madrasah - Isfahan
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