7 beautiful mosques for your must-visit list in Iran

June 30, 2021 - 18:26

TEHRAN – Picturesque domes, minarets, vibrant colors, intricate tilework, and welcoming atmosphere are inseparable elements of mosques in every corner of Iran.

The architectural heritage of the Islamic world is astoundingly rich for almost all sightseers. Here is a list of seven beautiful mosques in the Islamic Republic.

Nasir al-Molk Mosque, Shiraz

For many potential travelers, Nasir al-Molk is probably the first image coming to their minds when we talk about gorgeous mosques.

One of the most photographed mosques in southern Iran, it embraces arrays of delicate mirror work and stuccowork, which are interwoven with arabesque designs and tilework. It is filled with carved pillars and lavishly created polychrome faience, and the prayer hall appears gorgeous when it is lit up through the vast stained-glass windows.

In case one is willing to get shots it is usually recommended to come as early as possible in the morning to picture the prayer hall when it is lit up through the colorful glass frames.

Jameh Mosque, Yazd

Soaring above the UNESCO-registered city of Yazd, this splendid building is graced with a tiled entrance portal, which is one of the tallest in the country.

The Jameh Mosque of Yazd is particularly notable for the prevalence of faience – a form of tiling that, like a mosaic, is formed of different colored pieces that are sandwiched together to create the design.

The terms “Jameh Mosque” or “Masjed-e Jameh” or “Friday Mosque” are used in Iran for a grand communal mosque where mandatory Friday prayers are performed: the phrase is used in other Muslim countries but only in Iran does it designate this purpose.

Blue Mosque, Tabriz

Covered in spectacular blue tiles, from which it derives its name, the Blue Mosque (“Masjed-e Kabud”) is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture in northwest Iran.

The mosque was completed in c. 1465 and is remarkable for its simplicity, brickwork, and great size as well. It survived a devastating earthquake in 1727. However, many parts of it caved in due to a quake struck later in the same century. Many parts of the structure were rebuilt in 1973.

In the southern part of the mosque lies a time-honored mausoleum, itself a source of splendor.  It is entirely covered with massive marble slabs on which verses from the Holy Quran have been engraved with a background of fine arabesques.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

A stunning example of intricate Iranian architecture, the 17th-century Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is best recognized for its defiantly off-center dome and lack of minarets; its cream-hued tiles shift colors as the sun moves throughout the day, giving them a pinkish tint at times.

The dome, which is covered in vivid colored tiles inside and out, is without a doubt the focal point of attention with its arabesque designs that become smaller as they approach the center.

The mihrab of the mosque is one of the finest in Iran and has an unusually high niche; a calligraphic montage names the architect and the date 1028 AH.

Goharshad Mosque, Mashhad

Goharshad Mosque is most revered for its age, architectural characteristics, and rich tile decorations. Made of brick and plaster in the 15th century, it used to be served as a free-standing mosque and currently serves as one of the prayer halls within the splendid Imam Reza (AS) shrine complex in Mashhad.

The construction of the mosque started in 1418 by the order of Queen Goharshad, the wife of Shahrokh. It took about 12 years to be completed under the supervision of capable Iranian architect Ghavameddin Shirazi by the use of the architectural and decorative manpower supplied from the Iranian cities of Shiraz and Isfahan.

Standing in the courtyard, visitors can distinguish exuberant color and solidity among the tower-like minarets, merging with the outer atmospheres.

Agha Bozorg Mosque, Kashan

Standing tall in the oasis city of Kashan, the 19th-century Agha Bozorg Mosque boasts a pleasing symmetry embellished with intricate plasterwork, woodwork, mirrorwork, and geometric patterns.

The massive place of worship includes several congregational halls, adjoining arcades, tiled minarets, massive badgirs (wind towers), and an austere dome. The mud-brick walls, arches, and ceilings are covered with Quranic inscriptions and mosaics as well.

Narratives say that the mosque is named after Mulla Muhammad Mahdi Naraqi (1715-1795) who was nicknamed “Agha Bozorg” for being a Shia philosopher and theologian.

Vakil Mosque, Shiraz

Vakil Mosque is part of a bigger 18th-century ensemble, which comprises a bazaar, and a public bathhouse of the same name. The mosque is connected to the traditional marketplace and it is almost attached to the bathhouse with a lane in between.

Karim Khan Zand (r. 1751-1779), the founder of the Zand Dynasty, ordered the construction of the ensemble as part of his grand development projects in the heart of Shiraz.

A distinguishing feature of the mosque, however, is the forest of diagonally fluted columns that support the prayer hall, displaying a hypnotic rhythm of verticals and arabesques.

AFM

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