Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is a masterpiece of the Safavid era, whose construction began in 1603 and ended in 1619. This mosque, located in the beautiful city of Isfahan, was built on the orders of Shah Abbas I and was commissioned by the architect of the mosque, Mohammad Reza Esfahani. This mosque is one of the reasons of tourists to travel to Iran and also one of Isfahan tourist attractions.
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, built for the sake of the Sheikh Lotfollah al-Meysi, attracts many tourists each year, and all the viewers of this work are compelled to admire the artists involved in its construction. This mosque, a masterpiece of 11th-century architecture and tile, is undoubtedly one of the tourist attractions of Isfahan.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is located on the east side of Esfahan's Naqsh-e Jahan Square opposite the Aliqapu Palace in the neighborhood of the Imam Mosque and near to many of Isfahan hotels.
History of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
The plan of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque was started with the implementation of Chahrbagh and Bagh-e-Hezar Jarib and was built over 18 years during developing and flourishing Safavid architecture. The mosque was built on the orders of Shah Abbas and in honor of the arrival of Sheikh Lotfollah Jabal Ameli. He was a Shia cleric of that time and, like Sheikh Baha'i, had emigrated from Lebanon to Iran by Shah Abbas. The Safavid government was a religious state and paid a lot of attention to Islam and especially to the Shia and also revered religious scholars. Sheikh Lotfollah was also the father of Shah Abbas. For this reason, in the life of the Sheikh, the mosque was built to worship the shrine and its residents. There was also a school devoted to prominent scientist to teach but there are no traces of it. During the Safavid period, the mosque was also known as Sadr and Fathullah.
Architecture of the mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque was built and completed by the end of the year 1011 AH and the construction of its tile building and decoration finished in 1028 AH. Since the mosque has neither a minaret nor a Shabestan (yard), as well as the entrance that starts with the staircase, it is a bit unusual.
The inscription on the facade of the mosque is written in Sols font by Alireza Abbasi, as well as the lines and inscriptions inside the mosque. Some of the other inscriptions in the mosque are written by Baqir Bana an anonymous calligrapher of that period whose handwriting is equivalent to Alireza Abbasi’s.
The entrance door of the mosque is bivalve and made of a single sheet of plane tree wood, which is still standing after 400 years. One of the features of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is 45-degree rotation that is relative to the north-south axis and to the Qibla, which is called “heel” in architectures, but it is so elaborately constructed that you will not see any trace of inclination from outside. Made To overcome this angle, a corridor is designed to be completely covered with seven-color tiles dominated by green and blue. The corridor is placed on the left from the beginning of the entrance and then turns to the right.
After passing this corridor, you will reach the main square below the low dome (32 meter from the ground). This dome has become one of the most beautiful domes in Isfahan and Iran due to its magnificence, its structural features and dark blue daisies on the white background. There is also an image of a peacock whose feathers are completed with the glimpse of light from the upper arch entrance to the mosque. You will see the breathtaking view of the light in a beautiful twist in the inner space below the dome. This beauty is enough to attract tourists to one the most popular Isfahan tourist attractions.
The structure of this mosque is based on a four sides form, and in the higher parts it turns into an octagon, and eventually the circular is joined to the stem of the dome. The walls of this building are designed to be very heavy to bear, so that their diameter in the windows is 1.7 meters, and in the main parts even more than 2 m.
At the top of the entrance to the Shabestan there is an opening for the general lighting, especially the altar lighting. But for the mosque's lighting, there are 16 windows in the dome's stem, and because these windows are around the building, they will be part of the sunlight throughout the day into the interior of the Shabestan. Mohammad Reza Banna Isfahani, could put more light into the building by placing more openings, but by introducing the same amount of light tapped on the tiles our attention will be drawn to each of them.
You can see one of the architectural masterpieces on the altar of the mosque, where its tile works, as well as two tablets inside the altar present the carved phrase "the work of the poor person who needs God's mercy, Muhammad Reza Ibn-e Ostad Hussein Banna Isfahani”. There are other inscriptions around the altar written by Alireza Abbasi, on which there are narrations written by Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ja'far Sadiq. In addition to these narration, there are poems that experts believe belong to Sheikh Baha'i, a poet and scientist of the Safavid era. In the four corners of the mosque, Ayahs are also written in Sols font on the background with azurite color with white mosaic tiles. The perspective of the world-renowned architect Louis Kahn at a visit to Isfahan has been as follows:
I can only imagine such a work in the imaginary world, with an abundance of gold and silver.
Impressions like these, has made this mosque on of the most popular Isfahan tourist attractions so a lot of Isfahan tours include the visiting of this building in their tour plans. It is good to know that many high quality hotels of Isfahan are located near this mosque.