The art of Mosque Architecture

Amazing Mosques in Iran

Most countries have their very own unique art of architecture, especially countries with an ancient civilization such as Iran.The architecture of mosques in Iran varies from one region to another depending on culture, heritage and the resources available. Each mosque has different styles of tile work, unique color systems and symbolic patterns; however, there are a few common elements common to most of them.

One such elements is the “Mehrab,” a semicircular niche in the wall that faces the qibla, the direction of the Ka’aba in Mecca, to whose direction Muslims pray. Another common element that all mosques share is the pools situated outside them; the water in the pools symbolizes pureness and cleanliness.

The Islamic architectures of mosques have a symbolic significance. Some common features of Islamic mosques are the minarets and domes. The minaret is a tall tower situated at one of the corners of the mosque that provides a visual and a vocal point that are used to call on people for prayers. Domes are another signature of Islamic architecture, symbolically representing the vaults of heaven.

The art of tile working in Iran blossomed in the Islamic period. The amazing tile work features beautiful colors, floral displays and calligraphy. The calligraphy is linked to geometry as the proportions of the letters are all governed by mathematics.


1. Nasir Almolk Mosque, Shiraz

Nasir Almolk Mosque or the Pink Mosque; from the outside view seems like a fairly house of worship. A gorgeously colorful place near Shah Cheragh Shrine. It’s highly recommended to visit here when it’s sunny in order to benefit from magical lights inside the mosque!






2. Imam Mosque, Isfahan:

Imam Mosque or former Shah (Royal) Mosque; (renamed after the 1979 Islamic revolution) is one of the finest and the most stunning mosques in Iran. It is registered along with the Naqsh-e Jahan Square as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A unique characteristic of Imam Mosque is the acoustic properties and reflections at the central point under the dome! Which is an amusing interest for many visitors, especially euphonious ones!




3. Jame Mosque, Yazd

Jame Mosque of Yazd or Friday Mosque is a distinguish feature of Iranian mosques in possessing tall entry portals, called pishtaq. This mosque is a particularly fine example of two lofty minarets.



4. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is known as one of the architectural masterpieces of Shah Abbas period, which was dedicated to his father-in-law. It is located on the eastern side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square. It has no minaret or courtyard and represents the best example of architecture and tile work of Iran in the 17th century. Most attractive part of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is the pale tiles of the dome, which change color from cream through to pink, depending on the light conditions!



5. Vakil Mosque, Shiraz

Vakil Mosque was built in the mid-18th century by Karim Khan, the founder of Zand Dynasty. The entrance gates as well as the interior of the mosque are decorated with colored tiles in beautiful floral patterns. As this mosque is very large (area of 8,660 square meters) is often referred as the Stone Forest.


6. Blue Mosque, Tabriz:

Blue mosque was built upon the order of Jahan Shah the ruler of Kara Koyunlu dynasty which made Tabriz the capital of his Kingdom. Although the mosque was damaged in an earthquake in 1779, reconstructions propped it up and make it one of the main Tabriz attraction again.


7. Agha Bozorg Mosque, Kashan:

Agha Bozorg Mosque is the historical mosque which was built in the late 18th century. It is famous for its symmetric pattern and attractive appearance. The beautiful dome is flanked by amazing minarets adorned with colorful tiles arranged in some geometric shapes. Its central courtyard and pool in the middle are a good example of Persian architecture.


8. Goharshad Mosque, Mashhad

Goharshad Mosque; dignified and impressive! The post Islamic method of building structures in Iran is here: in the arches, tile work mosaics and the very round domes of Goharshad Mosque.



9. Jame Mosque, Qazvin

Jame Mosque of Qazvin is one of the most ancient mosques in Iran. It is believed to have been constructed upon the order of Harun Al-Rashid in 807 CE. Its original building was established on a fire temple during the Sassanid era and other parts were constructed later. Its double-layered dome can be traced back to the Seljuk era. Jame Mosque of Qazvin survived from Mongol invasion.


10. Jame Mosque, Kerman

Jame Mosque of Kerman was built in 1350. It is the earliest surviving example of Muzaffarid architecture. As the mosque dates from the 14th century, its tile works are limited to four-color palette: white, yellow, dark blue and light blue.


11. Seyyed Mosque in Isfahan

Although Qajar dynasty was a terrible period of decline in art and architecture, but inheritance of Safavid period encouraged many artists of Qajar period to show their innovations through new limited number of art and architecture. In fact Safavid’s glorious heritage highly influenced Qajar period’s artists. They took advantage of all minor opportunities and created their own master pieces of art and architecture. Qajar period’s artists were well aware of developments in Europe too. Regarding tile and tile mosaic, traditional methods were continued, but new ideas and design can be witnessed in their work.