If you are planning to travel to Iran and visit Isfahan, one of the must-see monuments of the city is Masjed-e Jame of Isfahan. Actually, a travel to Iran and travel to Isfahan is not completed without seeing this amazing place.
The Masjed-e Jame of Isfahan is situated in the historic district of the Isfahan. It can be considered as a stunning illustration of the evolution of mosque architecture over twelve centuries.
The mosque is the oldest preserved monument of its type in the country. Masjed-e Jame of Isfahan is also a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. With more than 20,000 m2 area it is also the first Islamic building with a four-courtyard layout in which the idea is taken from Sassanid palaces.
The building that is currently used as a mosque is the result of continual construction, reconstruction, additions, and renovations from 771 till the end of the 20th century. It has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012.
The first building of this monument was constructed during the Umayyad dynasty, it is believed that the building used to be a worship for Zoroastrian before it changed to a mosque.
It is believed that the origins of Masjed-e Jame Isfahan lie in the 8th century, but it burnt down and was rebuilt again in the 11th century during the Seljuk dynasty and went through remodeling many times.
The mosque is one of the oldest standing ones in Iran, which was built with four-iwans with all of them built face to face. Iwan is actually, an open room with a view to the sky. The biggest Iwan is the one faced to Qibla with beautiful muqarnas on the walls which was done during the 13th century.
During Seljuqs construction of the building was among adding two brick domed chambers to the complex and the mosque was also renowned at the same time. The south dome was built in order to be used as mihrab during 1086–87 by Nizam al-Mulk.
The other dome which was the largest dome at its time was constructed by Nizam al-Mulk a year later is located in the north part of the building. It is still unknown why the chamber was constructed.
However, since it was located outside the area of the mosque, it is believed that the dome was built as a direct riposte to the earlier south dome. The four Iwans were also added under the Seljuqs, and therefore due to the new architectural style, the mosque became prevalent in Iran and the rest of the Islamic world.
There were so many developments, and modifications to the place from the Mongols, Muzzafarids, Timurids, and Safavids. As a result, it has rooms built in different architectural styles, so now the mosque represents a condensed history of Iranian Architecture.