Oljayto Altar

The golden age of stucco artwork of post Islam in Iran dates back to Ilkhanid dynasty, which are displayed mainly in altars of mosques as the apex of this art. Oljayto Altar (Mihrab or Sanctuary) located in the north west of Jameh Mosque of Isfahan (UNESCO site) is the masterpiece of the altars.

Oljayto (the eighth Ilkhanid dynasty ruler, 1278-1316 AD) was a Mongol ruler of Iran, who named himself "Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh", after he converted to Islam. He was the one who gave order to his minister Mohammad Savi to build this altar in 1310 AD. The figures and motifs of stucco reliefs are imitation of Sassanid time (225-651 AD), the altar itself is a mark of Azari architecture method and is decorated with tablets with inscriptions in Kufi and Sols calligraphy which are relating the story of building the altar, as well as other unique Eslimi motifs on the sidelines of that. The talented artist has separated the diverse forms of stucco by curved borders, so that there is no conflict between them.


While standing in front of the altar, the columns on both sides followed by curved form of altar, artily entwined with Eslimi motifs and insscriptions together will lead your eyes upward to the end of altar. Seconds later, you unconsciously, will find yourself amazed, standing on the ground but your head has turned completely upward to the sky.

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