Atiq Great Mosque of Isfahan is one of the world-famous monument of the Isfahan. It is an amazing work used for thousands of years as a temple. It is like a museum of pre-Islamic, Ilkhani, Seljuk, Safavid periods and periods after that. The interesting point is that each period left its own signs and, with the change of government, this sacred place has seen less destruction, and the new government has tried to symbolize its history and its role in this Iranian architecture museum.
The Atiq Great Mosque of Isfahan is located next to the old square and the oldest neighborhood of Isfahan, as was stated in the Isfahan paper in the Safavid era, with the presence of Shah Abbas in Isfahan and his selection for changing the name of central old square to the Naghsh-e Jahan Square, everything was changed and the Shah Mosque or Great Mosque of Abbasid replaced with Atiq Great Mosque. And this reflects the story of the ancient history of this mosque.
An Overview to the History of the Atiq Great Mosque of Isfahan
In the excavations in this mosque, they found the foundation of the columns of the Sassanid era, and it seems that the building used as a fire temple in the past, and with the emergence of Islam, it used as a mosque, and over time, its shape and appearance changed and changed. The present building of the Atiq Great Mosque seems to have been established in the 2nd century AH, but most of the changes and architectures remaining are from the Seljuk period. As mentioned, this huge museum is full of changes and extensions that have been added in different periods. Especially in the Safavid era, which had a school of architecture, they gave great importance to mosques. On the pretext of studying this valuable museum of Iranian architecture, we will have a look at the rulers and the history of this building and the city of Isfahan during its history.
Āl-i Buyeh Era
Isfahan was Capital during the Āl-i Buyeh era, and this Iranian people revived the traditions and development of the city, and artists, architects and renowned scholars were educated in this city. But the works that remains of this government in Isfahan is not numerous, and the Atiq mosque is one of the few places to be mentioned.
Since the middle of the fifth century AH (12th century AD), the Seljuk Turks captured Iran and settled their center of government in Isfahan. The Iranian Minister of Politics and Scientist, Malekshah Seljuki, created immense and eternal works in Isfahan. One of the fundamental changes in the great mosques was the creation of large and tall domes. As it remains, after about a thousand years since that era, the Atiq Great Mosque is a reflection of the changes in the Seljuk period.
The eighth and ninth centuries AH (Thirteenth and Fourteenth centuries) coincided with the era of the Mughal Ilkhanid era in Iran. At that time, significant works of art were created throughout Iran. In the city of Isfahan, from this period, there are examples such as the famous Al-Jaayto altar and monuments.
Al-Jaayto is the same ruler of the Ilkhan who, by turning to Islam and then the Shi’a religion, had a vivid role in make a situation for coming of the Safavids, and gave it a more detailed account of the story.
After Safavid Era
After the Safavid Era, with the transfer of the capital from Isfahan to Shiraz and Tehran, all the work of this city fell from the prosperity, but the Atiq Great Mosque of Isfahan was not forgotten due to the public’s attention and religious events, and it was constantly maintained by the people. This work was registered worldwide and was rebuilt several times during its courtyard, from the destruction of the altar and the reformation of the Qibla in the third century AH to the reconstruction of the past decades due to the devastation caused by the bombing of Iraq in the mosque.
Architectural Values of Atiq Great Mosque in Isfahan
The Atiq Great Mosque of Isfahan encompasses the experiences of the millennial architecture of the city of Isfahan. In this way, it is possible to identify many of the styles and architectural history of Iran and neighboring countries; creating a variety of brick girths decorated with geometric patterns of brick columns with different sections, a three-part and four-part split combination consisting of circles, arches with a variety of methods.
Four porches with different decorations in each, huge domes with inventive methods in the form of two continuous skins, rhythmic and decorated facades around the courtyard, and ten over doors, each of which opens over the mosque. All of these works are in the final composition of a unique collection, which can be considered as a continuous history and encyclopedia of Iranian architecture and some other places, especially in Central Asia.
In addition to the developments that took place in the mosque in the fifth century AH (the 12th century AD), the previous Shabestani mosque became the fourth porches mosque. This new style ( with paying attention to Arabic method) was changed in comparison to the Shabestani design, called “Iranian Mosque”, and since then most of the mosques in large cities of Iran have been built with the same four-door style.
Even some of the mosques built in the past have been moderated by the modeling of the Atiq Mosque in Isfahan. In fact, the main value of the architecture of the mosque of Isfahan is that it has played the role of a preemptive pattern in the history of Iranian architecture.