Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan lies in the eastern side of Naqsh-e Jahan Square opposite to Ali Qapu Palace. This magnificent building is one of glorious masterpieces of architecture and art of the Safavid era. It was constructed from 1011 to 1028 by Abbas I to be used for congregation prayers and classes of Sheikh Lotf-ollah ibn Abd-ol Karim Ibn Ebrahim. A sage from Jabal Amel in Lebanon. Although the mosque is a small building and has a simple design, it is elegant and beautiful.
What Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan Consists of
It consists of a dome, a prayer hall below the dome, a winter hall, a corridor, the portal of the entrance, and beautiful tile decorations. Unlike other mosques. this one lacks any courtyards and minarets. A glorious veranda connects this mosque to Naqsh-e Jahan Square. It shows the architect’s good understanding of the entrance design. The entrance is about 6 steps higher than the square. It has some marble seats on the sides. Two blind arcades and portals are symmetrically built on the sides of this entrance. The plinths in the front of the veranda are in marble. Other parts are covered with tiles. The edges of the main arch of the portal are decorated with blue tiles. The hall below the copula is a square space thoroughly decorated with tiles. The sides of this hall are 24 meters long. There are 16 latticed windows decorated with arabesque designs on mosaic tiles. Two inscriptions of verses of Koran are written on a blue background above and below these windows. Alireza Abbasi, the famous calligrapher of the Safavid period, has done these verses.
Decorations of Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan
The dome of Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan is a masterpiece of Iranian architecture. The interior and exterior of the copula is thoroughly faced with beautiful tile works. The exterior of the copula, unlike other mosques, is yellow. It has arabesque figures on the external surface, and floral and other figures on the interior one. The drum of the copula has tile decorations, several inscriptions in Suls and Bannaec hand writings and latticed tiles.
The tile work inside the dome is similar in design to the carpets of the Safavid period. It is a unique masterpiece adorned with very beautiful tiles and colorful figures. The exquisitely decorated prayer niche of this hall magnifies its beauty. There is an under-ground-winter-hall below the domed prayer hall. The arched ceiling of the underground hall is on four short piers. There is a large corridor beside the prayer hall that previously led to the eastern part of the mosque. The copula of the mosque is among few single-layered domes of the Safavid era.
Although it is not so high, it is high enough to be easily visible from Naqsh-e Jahan Square. First, there is a vestibule, then an octagonal space, and finally a corridor after the entrance. This corridor leads to the prayer hall. The corridor has some fretwork stone windows on the left and beautiful tile works on the right. Being in the direction of Qeble, this hall should have an angle of 45 degrees with the north-south direction of Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
The skillful architect of this mosque has solved this problem with a turn in the entrance corridor that leads to the vestibule and the prayer hall. The plinths of the building are in poly chromatic tiles and the upper parts are decorated with inlaid tile works. This difference has created an attractive sight. Some windows and doors are built in blind arcades. There is a detailed decoration in the upper part of the prayer niche. It bears an inscriptions reading, “the work of the poor and in need to the Lord’s mercy. Muhammad Reza Ibn Ostad Hussein Banna Esfehani — 1028”. According to most of researchers. The above-mentioned man has been the architect of the Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan.