Hakim Mosque: a hidden gem to visit in Isfahan

July 6, 2021 - 18:55

TEHRAN – The lesser-known Hakim Mosque is a visually stunning monument in Isfahan, which travelers can pay a visit to near the centuries-old bazaar of the central Iranian city.

The elegant mosque is not only a house of worship but also a public building serving a multiplicity of uses. It is a gathering place for prayers five times a day, an Islamic college, and an emergency shelter for travelers.

Built-in the mid-17th century during the reign of Shah Abbas II, the mosque is named after its constructer who was a physician (“Hakim” in Persian).

The mosque has no monumental entry, but five different minor entries. Frequently, a mosque is also used as a shortcut for another destination beyond the place of worship.

Although the penetration of the mosque walls may take many forms, the primary destination is always the same. It is a courtyard that can be called a monumental space. The mosque also contains amenities, such as washrooms and toilets, for public use.

Isfahan has long been nicknamed as Nesf-e-Jahan which is translated into “half the world”; meaning seeing it is relevant to see the whole world. In its heyday, it was also one of the largest cities in the region with a population of nearly one million.

The cool blue tiles of Isfahan's Islamic buildings, and the city's majestic bridges, contrast perfectly with the encircling hot, dry Iranian countryside. The huge Imam Square, best known as Naghsh-e Jahan Sq. (literary meaning “Image of the World”), is one of the largest in the world (500m by 160m), and a majestic example of town planning. Built in the early 17th century, the UNESCO-registered square is punctuated with the most interesting sights in Isfahan.

Modern Isfahan is now home to some heavy industry, including steel factories and a nuclear facility on its outskirts, however, its inner core wants to be preserved as a priceless gem.