Photographer's Note

When Shah Abbas Safavid I elected Isfahan as his capital in 1006 H. (1598 A.D.), he decided to restyle the urban and architectural system of the city in a pattern deserving one of the creditable capitals of the world of those times. In this direction, one of his most important decisions was to trans-locate the city center from the old square to a new one (now called Naqsh-e-Jahan).

In those days, Jame's mosque was considered as one of the most important elements of each city. Therefore, it was also necessary to build a new Jamel's mosque for the modern city. Accordingly in the restyling plan of Naqsh-e-Jahan square, besides Markets (bazaars) communicating with the old bazaar and square, erection of castles and a magnificent Jame's mosque was predicted. This mosque, denominated as "The new Jame's mosque" or "Masjid Jame Abbasi" is famed today as Imam Mosque. Masjid Imam typifies the climax of the Iranian architecture. The turquoise color of its frontal area minarets and dome, amongst the white and gray colors of the square's walls, symbolize presence and dominance of spirituality over the square. The mosque begins with a side frontage and a magnificent frontispiece with a semi-dome decorated with muqarnas (stalactite work), followed with an alluring vestibule. A wide opening in the vestibule, presents the visitor with a view of the courtyard and the main ivan; while entry to the courtyard is provided by two passagewaye situated on both sides of the vestibule. The courtyard itself, is surrounded on all its four sides, with four ivans and several sanctuaries. The main ivan and rotunda of the mosque face towards Qibla. This rotunda, with its exquisite decorations and polychrome tile seems like a garden that is not an exaggeration to call it the bezel of the Iranian architecture and one of the exotic monuments of the world. On two corners of the mosque, there are two beautiful patios used as theological schools that due to being restored during the reigns of Shah Soleyman Safavid and Nasser-al-Din Shah Qajar, are famed as Soleymanieh and Nasserieh madrassas.

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Additional Photos by Zbigniew Kalinowski (fotka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 552 W: 9 N: 1453] (6581)
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