Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

Also known as: Jom'e Mosque, Atigh Jame Mosque

Plunge Deep into Persian History and Culture

Entering the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is plunging yourself into the very depths of Iranian history, religion and art. The mosque is the fruit of over 1200 years of continual construction, redecoration and reinterpretation that takes the visitor from the time of the Seljuqs and the Mongols to the Timurids and the Safavids. The mosque is not only one of the oldest still-standing mosques of Iran and the wider Islamic world, but it is also the largest functioning mosque in Iran.
However, the Jameh mosque occupies much deeper significant space in the hearts and imagination of Iranians. This meaning goes beyond Shiism and Islam itself, but instead envelops a cognitive and historical panorama of the very identity of Iranians. One could argue that its layers of meaning can be compared to the trans-historical and trans-religious meaning of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. Religiosity, which stands at the very center of modern Iranian history, finds its reflection in the seemingly all-compassing sacredness of this mosque. It is believed that it already functioned as a Zoroastrian meeting place in the time of the Sassanids. Indeed, before the coming of the Safavids and thus before the widespread conversion to Shiism, the blueprint of the Jameh Mosque was already laid.

Unique Architecture

The center of the main courtyard encompasses the historicity and cosmopolitanism of this mosque. Being surrounded by four contrasting iwans, the howz or ablution fountain was built on the model of the Kaaba in Mecca and could be interpreted as representing the universalism of Islam. The four iwans in turn represent unity in diversity and unity in the trans-historicity of Iran, which moves from Pre-Islamic Zoroastrianism to the Sunnism of the Seljuks to the Sufism of the Mongols and the millenarian Shiism of the Safavids. It is this diversity which is Iran.

A very unique pearl which makes the mosque more specific is Oljaito Altar, a complex of stucco relief art built in 1310 AD.


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