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Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran.Construction of the mosque started in 1603 and was finished in 1619. It was built by the chief architect Shaykh Bahai, during the reigh of Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty. 

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque was built during Shah Abbas time, and dedicated to his father-in-law, Sheikh Lotfollah, a prominent religious scholar and teacher who came to Isfahan at the orders of Shah 'Abbas, and resided on the site, but was never involved in the mosque's construction.

Sheikh Lotfallah was born in Mess, which is currently in the Lebanon. Like his family he was a member of the Imami, or Shi'ite sect and was encouraged to take up residence in Iran under the Safavid rulers as part of the policy of promoting Shi'ism in Iran, along with other followers of this tradition from Bahrain. At first he lived in Mashed, where the second holiest of Shi'ite shrines is located, that of Imam Reza, but, partly due to the political instability of the area at the time and partly because of pressure from Shah Abbas, he took refuge first in Qazvin and then in Isfahan, where he seems to have acquired a son-in-law and patron at the same time. It was probably he who introduced the great mathematician, Sheikh Baha Al-Din Mohammed Ameli, otherwise known as Sheikh Bahai, who designed the famous sundial in the Royal Mosque, to Shah Abbas. Sheikh Lotfallah died in 1622.

Throughout history, this mosque has been referred to by different names. For Junabadi it was the mosque with the great dome (Masjed-e qubbat-e ’azim) and the domed mosque (qubbat masjed), while contemporary historian Iskandar Munshi named it the mosque of great purity and beauty. On the other hand, European travellers, such as Jean Chardin referred to the mosque using the current name, and Arabic inscriptions within the mosque, done by calligrapher Baqir Banai, also include the name of Sheikh Lutfallah. In addition, the reckonings of Muhibb Ali Beg, the imperial treasure holderer, show that the Imam's salary came directly from the imperial household resources. All this suggests that not only was the building indeed named after Sheikh Lutfallah, but also, that this famous imam was among the first prayer leaders for the royal court in this very mosque.

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

This beautifully proportioned and decorated mosque, with some of the best mosaics from that era, took nearly 20 years to complete. The pale tiles of the dome change color, from cream through to pink, depending on the light conditions and the mosque is unusual because it has no minaret or courtyard.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

The figure painted in the middle of the floor under the dome is a peacock at certain times of the day. The sunlight enhances the peacock's tail. The mosque was once called the Women's Mosque, because there is apparently a tunnel between this mosque and the Ali Qapu palace, allowing women from the old dynasties to attend prayers without being seen in public.

The main entrance to the mosque is located on the east side of this small court. The structure itself is not aligned perpendicularly to the Square’s eastern wall, but lies at an angle (almost 45 degrees) against the Square’s wall. As a result, when viewed from the Square, the mosque's main portal iwan and dome do not fall on the same axis, as is always the case in other mosques, but instead the dome appears behind the main portal iwan as if having slid 6.5 meters to the right from its axis. This asymmetrical layout was initially introduced to reconcile the (southwest) direction of Mecca with the placement of the mihrab on the qibla wall, and adds visual complexity to the structure.


Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Turning southwest to face the qibla wall, one enters the domed chamber to see the mihrab on the opposite wall. This journey into gradual deepening into darkness and reemergence into a room bathed with light reflected on the glazed revetment is one of the most rewarding experiences of the building.
In contrast to the grand size of the Square’s space, the Sheikh Lotfollah mosque is very small and is comprised of a single domed chamber (19 meters on a side), surrounded by rooms (which possibly functioned as service areas) on its sides, and preceded by a portal iwan overlooking the Square.
The two rooms accessed from the corridor which envelopes the sanctuary dome measure 6 by 9 meters; one is found on the western side of the corridor, and the other along the far end of the eastern wall.
A third room (8 by 16 meters) is located on the exterior of the southern wall of the sanctuary, and is accessed via the corridor running along the Square wall and then turning right after the vestibule area. Although the Sheikh Lotfollah is not one rectangular structure, its masses can be measured as one rectangular area of 44 by 30 meters and an additional rectangular service area comprising approximately 152 square meters.
The dome is one of the few single-shell domes of the Safavid architecture with a structure consisting of three levels. Four squinches of pointed-arched panels, framed by an inscription band in white and blue demarcated by light blue cable moldings, ascend from the floor and support a sixteen kite-shaped shields that, in turn, support the drum, which comprises sixteen arched panels. The drum is ornamented with alternating double-grilles windows with an arabesque pattern.
 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque Of Isfahan

 

Geocoding: 32°39′26″N 51°40′44″E


 



Теги: Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, isfahan, isfahan attractions, isfahan tourism, must see isfahan, must see iran, travel to iran, iran tourism

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