Address: south side of the Naqsh e Jahan Square
Timings: 8am to 1130am, 1230pm to sunset, closed on Fridays
Tickets: IRR 4000
The most authentic expression of Safavid architecture, and one of the most beautiful pieces of art that the Safavid Empire contributed to the Islamic world, is the Imam Mosque, also known as the Shah Mosque. Constructed between 1611 and 1638, the mosque is an epitome of the traditional Safavid construction techniques, perfected.
Based on a 4-iwan plan, the mosque’s interior is centered on a courtyard, with four surrounding arcades, and in the middle of each is a massive exaggerated entrance portal. Behind the southwest iwan is a domed sanctuary, which contains the mihrab. This is directed towards Makkah, and marks the direction to face while praying.
Marble dadoes and glazed mosaic tiles, ranging from mild shades of serene jades and turquoises to immense tones of royal blues, with additional ornamental elements in white and gold, line the external walls of the mosque.
The two towering 34 meters high minarets outside the grand public entrance of the mosque are decorated in Kufic calligraphy and inscriptions in floral arabesque patters – geometric designs that will immerse you into centuries of well-guarded wisdom.
The very simplicity and elegance in the visual treatment of the mosque, evident in its plans and its façade, provides a splendid, breathtaking piece of architecture.