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Imam Square


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Imam Mosque

At the end of the Imam Square is one of the most stunning buildings in Iran, the Imam Mosque. Two turquoise minarets flank the huge gateway (27m high). Behind it and slightly to the right is the main dome (52m high) of the prayer hall. It was built over a period of 26 years and was eventually completed in 1638. In Shah Abbas’ impatience to see it finished, he attempted to hurry up the work by adopting a new method of glazed tile work, known as haft rangi (of seven colours). As a result, some sections are decorated with the new style and some with the old and these ornate tiles take on a different hue according to the light conditions.

Imam Mosque

Imam Mosque, Isfahan
( Photo by Henri Stierlin )


Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

This small mosque was built during Shah Abbas’ time and dedicated to his father in law, Sheikh Lotfollah. The pale tiles on the dome change colour from cream to pink, depending on the light conditions; and the mosque is unusual because it has no minaret or courtyard. The mosque was once called the Women’s Mosque, because there is apparently a tunnel between this mosque and the Ali Qapu Palace, allowing women from the old dynasties to attend prayers without being seen in public.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan
( Photo by Henri Stierlin )


Ali Qapu Palace

This palace was built in the 18th century as a functioning seat of government, and included a huge pavilion from where the Safavid rulers could watch the activities in the square below. Unfortunately the Palace today is devoid of any furniture, and many of the Murals have been destroyed.

Ali Qapu Palace

Ali Qapu Palace, Isfahan
( Photo by N. Kasraian )


Bazaar Qaisarieh

On the north side of the Imam Square lies the Bazaar Qaisarieh (Great Bazaar). The gateway to the bazaar, built in the reign of Shah Abbas is decorated with the town’s astrological sign, Sagittarius. The bazaar covers an enormous area with shops that sell almost every imaginable item, as well as mosques, tea-houses, and banks. Like most Iranian bazaars, it is loosely divided into several interconnecting corridors, each specialising in a particular trade or product.

Bazaar Qaisarieh

Bazaar Qaisarieh, Isfahan
( Photo by Henri Stierlin )



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