Imam Khomeini Mosque, Isfahan, Iran – photo essay and tourist information
Imam Khomeini Mosque
Built in the 17th century, Imam Mosque is without doubt a masterpiece of Persian design and arguably the finest example of Islamic architecture anywhere in Iran. It sits at the southern end of the breathtaking Naghsh-e Jahan Square and together both are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was built under the direction of Shah Abbas and is famed for its use of seven-colour mosaic tiles and elegant calligraphic inscriptions. When the Shah decided to make Isfahan his capital at the end of the 16th century, it was his aim to bring the dissipated elements of Persian power under his sole guidance. The Masjed i Shah (Shah Mosque), which would replace the much older Jameh Mosque in conducting the Friday prayers, was the centerpiece of this building program. It has the largest dome in the city and is noticeably slightly off-angle to the square, due to the fact that the square, unlike most structures of importance in Iran, does not face Mecca, so when entering the Mosque one makes a slight turn to the right to correct for this.
The design of the four-iwan style, typified by a square, central courtyard, surrounded by 4 imposing facades, was becoming the standard to Iran by the Seljuk period. The gateway iwan stretches up to 27m in height and is a semi-circled half-moon shape. It is flanked by two 42m high minarets topped by ornately carved, wooden balconies.
After passing through the gateway portal, the main courtyard is centered around a large pool. The two iwans on the sides angle attention towards the main gateway, standing at the opposite end. The impressive facade is again framed by two minarets and is topped by a 53m high wonderfully colourful turquoise dome. Inside, one is struck by the acoustic perfection under the dome, allowing the Imam to speak without shouting and so that his voice could be heard by all the worshippers.
For some breathtaking views across the Mosque and the Naghsh-e Jahan square below, simply hang around for long enough and some worker will approach you offering to take you up to the minarets for a small fee (which will disappear straight into his pocket). Pay him (we gave 50,000 each), the views are worth it.
Admission costs and essential information
Opening Times: Sat-Thu: 9 a.m.-11.30 a.m. & 1 p.m.- 4.15 p.m.
Fri: 1 p.m. – 4.15 p.m.
Entrance fee :150000 Rials (2015)
Price of bribing the guide to climb the minaret: 50000 Rials
written by: Jon