Naghsh-e Jahan Square

Built by “Shah Abbas I the Great” at the beginning of the 17th century,and..

bordered on all sides by monumental buildingslinked by a series of two-storied arcades, the site is known for the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, the magnificent Portico of Qaysariyyeh Bazzar and the 15th-century Timurid palace.They are an impressive testimony to the level of social and cultural life in Persia during the Safavid era. Naghsh-e Jahan Square is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. “Roger Seyouri”, prominent British Iranologist who conducted extensive studies in history of Safavid era, has written that:” Naghsh-e Jahan Square was a place for citizens to visit King. All around the square there was a river and along this river a row of plane trees donated shadow to passersby’s. During the day time the square was filled with the tents of vendors and merchants stores who sold their goods, mainly spices, in warehouse around the Square. At night Naghsh-i Jahan square changed into a gathering place for actors, jugglers, puppet showers , story tellers, and mystics. Shah (King) sometimes especially in Nowruz (New Year’s Day) sat on gardens besides the Square to congratulate the beginning of new year.

All tourists who visited Isfahan in previous centuries have the same pictures from Isfahan in their mind. Fortunately physical appearance of Square remained intact and it still shows off its beauty to the world. Naghsh-e Jahan owes its glory to four sites which surrounded it from north, south, east and west and each one individually indicates a masterpiece of Iranian architecture.

Shah Mosque is standing in south side of Naghsh-e Jahan square. Built during the Safavid period, it is an excellent example of Islamic Architecture in Iran.

Its splendor is mainly because of the beauty of its seven-color mosaic tiles and valuable inscriptions. The splendid portal of the mosque measuring 27 meters high, crowned with two beautiful minarets being 42 meters in height, frames the front of the mosque which opens into Naqsh-e Jahan square. On top of the entrance, among the attractive stalactites and above the turquoise lattice windows, there is a frame of seven-color mosaic tile shaped like a vase with two peacocks on both sides which is a very precious example of mosaic tile art. The wooden door of the mosque, covered with layers of gold and silver, is ornamented with some poems written in “Nasta’liq Script”. The overall entrance hall proves the mastery of the designer of the building.

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque Situated on the eastern side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square, the mosque was constructed between 1602 to 1619 A.D. in Shah Abbas I era. It was a private praying place. According to one of the most famous American architects’: ” it is difficult to say that the Mosque is a man made building!!”

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in contrast with Imam Mosque is so small, because Shah Abbas constructed the mosque for one of his father in law, Sheikh Lutfullah. The mosque was named after Sheikh Lutfullah, a religious leader from Lebanon who was invited to Isfahan and was paid special attention by the Safavid king. Ali Qapu Palace was the celebrated seat of The Safavid capital in Isfahan. Ali Qapu is a pavilion that marks the entrance to the vast royal residential quarter of the Safavid Isfahan which stretched from the Maidan Naqhsh-e-Jahan to the Chahar Bagh Boulevard. The building, another wonderful Safavid edifice, was built by decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early seventeenth century. It was here that the great monarch used to entertain noble visitors, and foreign ambassadors. Shah Abbas, here for the first time celebrated the Nowruz (New Year’s Day) of 1006 AH / 1597 A.D. A large and massive rectangular structure, the Ali Qapu is 48 meters high and has six floors, fronted with a wide terrace whose ceiling is inlaid and supported by wooden columns.

The Bazaar of Isfahan (Qeysarieh bazaar) is one of the oldest and largest bazaars of the Middle East, dating back to the 17th century A.D. The bazaar is a vaulted two kilometer street linking the old city with the new. The two kilometer bazaar is a vaulted street that links the old city, the Friday mosque and old square with Shah Abbas’ new square. The iwan of the bazaar portal is flanked by galleries and crowned with the representation of Sagittarius in mosaic tile. The portal links the royal bazaar, the royal mint, and the royal caravansary, leading to the major artery of the bazaar.

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