THE IMAM MOSQUE (MASJED-E- SHAH)
This mosque is located on the southern side of Maidan. It is the most colorful and largest mosque of the Safavid era. It is an ultra magnificent architecture. First the portal was built and decorated in 1615, in order to complete the square. The mosque was completed in 1629 but ornamentation of it was finished after the death of Shah Abbas the great.
Decoration of the mosque was finished by the Shah's successors. The portal was decorated by the most delicate types of tile–mosaic but interior parts have been ornamented by polychrome square tiles. Marbles used in the mosque was taken from marble-mines in Ardestan (120k.m far from Isfahan).
The area of the mosque is about 12264 sq.m. It is a four-eivan mosque. Ornamentation of the portal with tile-mosaic shows examples and patterns.
In front of the portal of the mosque there is a beautiful forecourt which is connected to covered bazaar. This bazaar has surrounded the square. The portal and the forecourt are located on the opposite of Geysarieh portal.
The Moqarnas work of the portal enhances the beauty of the Maidan. There are two lofty minarets on the portal (42 meters high) the arch of the portal is about 27 meters high. The portal was built and decorated to match with the Maidan.
Above the portal there is a tile-mosaic panel, showing two peacocks and a vase of flower. This panel is made of hundreds of pieces of very finely cut and shaped tile.
This panel is one of the most famous parts of the mosque.
The portal is decorated with a great calligraphy in Solth, which dates back to 1616. Alireza Abbasi a great master of calligraphy was the calligrapher. Calligraphy is one of the magnificent styles of ornamentation. Beautiful design is created by alphabets.
Below Ali Reza's calligraphy there is another piece of calligraphy, made by Mohammad Reza Imami.
The two above mentioned calligraphers are among prominent calligraphers of Safavid period.
The present great door of the mosque is made of silver plates and gold plated and decorated with poems written in another kind of calligraphy called Nastaliq. Even today this type of calligraphy is very popular in Iran, and it is considered as artistic work. The door dates back to 1636 Shah Safi (Safavid period).
The portal of the mosque and the interior courtyard are connected by two corridors, turned about 45 degree turn. As soon as we pass through these two corridors and enter the main courtyard we will be faced to Mecca (Qiblah).
The courtyard is surrounded by four grand Eivans (porches) and two storey arcades. In the centre or the courtyard there is a large pool which shows a beautiful reflection of interior Eivans and arcades .one of the main characteristic of designs which can be seen in different parts of the mosque is beautiful symmetric designs which has enhanced the glory and beauty of the mosque.
THE SOUTHERN EIVAN
This eivan is connected to the main sanctuary. In fact the most prominent of the mosque. There are two beautiful minarets (48 meters high) on the eivan. The decorated prayer- niche (Mehrab) and the 4 meters Minber are located inside this sanctuary. The Minber is made of one piece of marble stone, which has 14 steps. Each step is considered as symbol of one of Shiite Saints, totally 14 Saints.
THE MAIN DOME OF SANCTURAY
The dome is the greatest part of the mosque, 52 meters high the dome is constructed by two Shells (dome). The outer dome (Shell) is 38 meters high, about 21 meters in diameter. The largest twin- shelled dome.
The space between the two Shells is about 13 meters. This part works like a semi loud speaker. The sound of preacher, talking on Minbar can be heard in all parts of the mosque.
Under the dome, in central part there is a black piece of stone on the floor. If you stand on the stone you can hear the echo of your voice at least seven times. Even if you light a match, the echo can be heard.
The tile work and the inscription round the dome is Solth calligraphy is fabulous. The calligraphy dates back to 1627 is written by Abd al- Baqi Tabrizi another prominent calligrapher of Safavid era. There are two hypostyle halls on the two sides of sanctuary ornamented with polychrome tiles.
In different part of the mosque there are stone vases. The most beautiful one is located in the western hypostyle hall, with beautifully engraved designs and a nice verse in Nastaliq calligraphy, which dates back to 1683, reign of Shah Soleiman Safavid.
There are two magnificent eivans on the south and west sides of the mosque. There are two winter galleries located on the west and east of the courtyard.
Both of them lead to beautiful Mihrab. The one on the west was decorated which extraordinary types of polychrome tiles blue, yellow and golden colours show another tile masterpiece. There are two Madresseh (Theological schools) located on at the south east and south west.
The southwest madresseh is called Soleimanieh madresseh. At the north part of the courtyard of Soleimaniyeh Madresseh there is a triangle stone. This stone works as a sundial for showing the exact time of noon prayer (Sallat Zohr) during all days of the year.
Sheikh Bahaei the great scientist of Safavid era designed and made this stone. The southwestern Madresseh is named Nasserieh, which dates back to the time of Shah Abbas the second.