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Jameh Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

After entering the courtyard of the Jameh mosque of Isfahan (Masjid-e Jāmeh Isfahān), I felt myself in Fairyland of "One thousand and one nights". At nights probably Jinns are flying and Scheherazades are walking in the courtyard of this mosque.

This is the largest mosque of Isfahan. It is intended for the Friday prayers. This is why it got the name Jameh (jāmeh in Arabic means Friday).

For over 12 centuries Jameh Mosque is standing near the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan. Jameh is one of the oldest mosques in Iran. Its construction began in 771. During the next 12 centuries the mosque was repeatedly renovated and changed thanks to the efforts of various dynasties of Iranian Shahs. As a result of these changes, the mosque has become a beautiful textbook of the history of Iranian architecture under the open sky.

The mosque was built on the site of a Zoroastrian temple. It was originally built of wood, but gradually the wooden buildings were replaced by ones made of stone. It was built in the style of "four iwans", facing each other. This architectural style was typical for Zoroastrian Iran during the Sasanian Empire. The first mosque built in this style was the Jameh Mosque in Isfahan. Later this architectural style has spread throughout the Islamic world.

The mosque has a spacious courtyard, decorated with arcades. In the center of courtyard the fountain for ablutions is located. This fountain is the replica of the fountain in Mecca’s Kaaba.

During the reign of Seljuk dynasty two large domes were added to the mosque. The south dome serves as Qibla (the Qibla indicates where the direction of Kaaba - the direction which Muslims are facing during praying). At the time of its construction it was the biggest dome in the entire Islamic world. The northern dome is located outside of the mosque. Its function is not clear, probably, it was built to create a visual symmetry with the southern one. From the side of the courtyard mosque is almost completely decorated with turquoise mosaics. Every detail of these mosaics is striking with its finest beauty.

In 2012 the mosque was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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