One of the most important and oldest part of the cities were religious buildings. During the Islamic periods so many beautiful mosques were constructed in Iran, among them the congregational mosque of Isfahan or the Friday mosque of Isfahan is shining. It’s one of the oldest mosques in Iran, visiting by lots of tourist every year.
Actually it is not clear when it was built exactly but according to historians the present mosque was built during Seljuq era by the order of the Seljuq king, Malek Shah, or his minister, Khajeh Nasir. In fact archeologists believe that it was built during the 9th century AD. In addition according to them it is possible that during the pre-Islamic period there might be a fire temple which later the function was changed to a mosque. The existence of some bases in the praying hall is a clue to prove this. Even some other historians say that the Abbasid Caliph ordered to build a mosque In Isfahan. Any way the mosque affected the thriving of the city. In addition, during the 12th century the congregational mosque of Isfahan was burned by some rebellions known as Assassins.
As it mentioned the first phase of construction refers to the 9th century AD. It was a mosque influenced by some other mosques with just a praying hall. Later during Seljuq era the plan of the mosque changed to a mosque with four porticos and a central court yard, This style is rooted in the ancient Iran. It seems that the oldest part of the mosque is the praying hall located to the south, however the dome was built during Seljuq era, about 900 years ago. In addition there are 40 columns in the praying hall which are ornamented with stucco work. Also, the portico of the southern praying hall refers to 600 years ago. It is known as “Ivan-e Saheb”. Across from this portico, there is another portico with a dome on top of it. This one is known as “Ivan-e Dervish” and again was built during Seljuq era. There is an inscription in this portico, added during Safavid era about 400 years ago. In addition, in each side of this portico there are 40 columns, decorated with amazing faience works, geometric designs of bricks. The western portico is known as “Ivan-e Ostad”, it was built during Seljuq era but the tile workings were done during Safavid dynasty. The inscriptions of this part were added by the order of the Safavid king, Shah Sultan Husain. To the east, across from “Ivan-e Saheb” there is another portico known as “Ivan-e Shagerd”. This part is decorated with friezes of stalactites, added during Timurid and Safavid eras. Besides, about 700 years ago another portico added to the old congregational mosque of Isfahan by the order of the local governor. This portico is known as “Ivan-e Umar”. To the southeast of this mosque there is another hall which probably was the famous library of the Khajeh Nezam Almolk. He was the most famous minister during Seljuq era. This was destroyed during war against Iraq and then re-erected. The main character of this mosque is located to the northeast of the mosque. It is a small praying hall with a unique Mihrab or niche in it. This Mihrab has the ornamentations of stucco work and amazing inscriptions on it which is a masterpiece. Actually, it was done by the order of Uljaitu, a Mongol king.
In this mosque Allameh Majlesi has been buried. He is a well-known clergyman in the Islamic history and the author of some important religious books. In addition, professor Arthur Pop, an archeologist visited the place and describe it; “I was impressed by this mosque as I visited the place for the first time. Since that the more I visited the mosque, the more it affected me. I feel that this country is charming and want to be buried in this sacred land.”
The old congregational mosque of Is really a masterpiece which is registered in the UNESCO’s world heritage list.