About Imam mosque

We visit Imam Mosque of Isfahan which is a valuable heritage from the Safavid era and was previously known as Shah Mosque. This building is one of the most important sights of Isfahan and even Iran, and attracts many tourists from all over the world every year. Join this article of Chiyakotravel to take a look at the architecture and history of this mosque, give you the address of the Imam Mosque of Isfahan and provide you with information about visiting it.

Why Imam Mosque of Isfahan?

  • This mosque is the most magnificent representative of the Islamic architecture of Isfahan and represents the evolution of a thousand years of mosque construction in Iran.
  • The innovations used in it are the result of the ingenuity of Iran’s elite engineers and architects.
  • Innovative techniques in the architecture and decoration of this mosque became the model of later mosques.
  • It is one of the famous buildings that foreign tourists must visit when traveling to Iran.
  • It is a part of Naghsh-e Jahan Square from the perspective of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • It is located next to famous buildings such as Aali Qapo, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeisarieh Bazaar, etc.
Masjed shah
Masjed shah

Introduction to Imam Mosque of Isfahan | A masterpiece of Islamic architecture in the 11th century

Isfahan Imam Mosque is a famous monument in the south of Naghsh-e Jahan Square; A building with a huge turquoise dome and a magnificent blue entrance and hosting the tallest minarets in the square.

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This is a mosque whose construction began with a vow. Shah Tahmasp Safavid, who had just survived one of his wars, vowed to build a mosque in gratitude for his salvation; But in the midst of wars and conflicts with the Uzbeks, he did not get a chance to fulfill his vows. History, however, changed in such a way that his grandson, Shah Abbas Safavid, fulfilled his grandfather’s vow from his pure wealth in the most glorious way possible and presented its reward to his ancestor’s soul. Thus, Imam Mosque was built in competition with the Masjed-e Jame of Isfahan or the Old Mosque, which belonged to the Seljuk period. Shah Abbas, the grandson of Tahmasp Safavid, who had recently chosen Isfahan as his capital, wanted to move the trade axis from the city center and around the Masjed-e Jame to Naghsh-e Jahan Square. Therefore, he ordered the construction of a mosque with a suitable capacity to hold religious ceremonies in the capital. A simple but magnificent mosque throughout which the turquoise and blue colors of the tiles give the viewer a heavenly atmosphere. The dome of Imam Mosque is taller than any other building in Naghsh-e Jahan Square and overlooks the entire city which shows the important place of religion in the Safavid rule.

This mosque was registered on January 6, 1961 with the number 107 as one of the national monuments of Iran and is also considered as a part of the World Heritage Site.

Names and titles of Isfahan Imam Mosque

Throughout history, Imam Mosque has been called by different names, the most famous of which are Shah Mosque, New Soltani Mosque and Abbasi Grand Mosque. Sometimes it was known as Mahdieh or Al-Mahdi Mosque and after the revolution it was renamed to Imam Mosque and now it is known by the same name.

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Imam mosque in Isfahan
Imam mosque in Isfahan

Interesting features of Imam Mosque of Isfahan

Shah Mosque or Imam Mosque of Isfahan is one of the highest examples of mosques built in Safavid period. There has been a lot of research on the architecture of this mosque. Here we will first give you a general description of the features and condition of the mosque today, then we will talk a little about its specific innovations, and then for those interested in architecture, we will explain different parts of the building in more detail.

Imam mosque in Isfahan
Imam mosque in Isfahan

For every tourist, before visiting a building, the question arises as to what I will see there and how it differs from similar buildings. In response to this question, we draw your attention to the distinctive physical and spiritual characteristics of the Imam Mosque compared to other mosques:

Decorations and amazing appearance of the mosque

In order to save time and money, a new seven-color technique was used for the tiles of this mosque. Using the works of artists called calligraphers, woodcarvers and stonemasons has given a special value to the decorations of this building. Despite the multiplicity of masters and arts used in the construction of the mosque, its single and integrated identity is amazing for any viewer. It is as if the whole mosque was built by one person and it leads its worshipers to this unity of soul. According to reports, the mosque was built and decorated with 18 million bricks and 475,000 tiles. In the lower part of the walls, large and integrated pieces of cut marble have been used. These stones were prepared from a mine on the outskirts of Isfahan, the discovery of which happened to coincide with the construction of the building. The integrated marble altar of this mosque is the most beautiful altar among contemporary mosques.

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Imam mosque in Naghsh-e Jahan square
Imam mosque in Naghsh-e Jahan square

Spiritual characteristics

Imam Mosque is a comprehensive mosque that is classified in the highest floor of mosques and in which collective worships such as Eid Fitr prayers, I’tikaaf ceremonies and revival of Ghadr nights are performed. The magnificent entrance to the south of the square invites the viewer in like an open embrace. The blue sky of this entrance, in contrast to the grey and white colors of other buildings in the square, shows the high and extraterrestrial status of religion. The use of blue and azure colors, according to some experts, reflects the philosophy of waiting and looking at the sky among Shiites.

Imam mosque | 6

Some of the architectural elements of mosques are inspired by ancient Iranian temples. Worshipers in every religion and creed need a safe and quiet environment that does not disturb the movement of people coming and going. In Sassanid times, a corridor was built around the main center of the temple, which, while preventing noise, led pilgrims to the religious center. The circular corridor of the Shah Mosque is modeled on these ancient corridors. This corridor has no angle and is built in such a way that you do not feel your change of direction when walking through it. The corridor, after walking a short distance in relative darkness, leads you to the light of the courtyard, which is a symbol of stepping into the world of spirituality.

The existence of huge empty spaces between the pillars causes the interconnection of the worshipers as much as possible and the collective solidarity that is one of the characteristics of worship among Muslims.

Naghsh-e Jahan mosque
Naghsh-e Jahan mosque