At Barsian, about 42 kilometres north-east of Isfahan, there is a fine complex consisting of an old minaret, a Seljuk mosque and what is probably one of the Caravansarais built by Shah Abbas I in the furtherance of internal trade. Such buildings were frequently attached to mosques. The Mosque is interesting for a number of reasons. It has an excellent brickwork panel on the front which is easy to see and the brickwork at the top of the minaret is also very fine although you will need binoculars or a zoom lens to see it. There is also an excellent mehrab inside the prayer chamber with unusual carving. This mosque is still used for worship so you will need to remember to take your shoes off before entering.
The locals call the village "Bersioon" and the name was probably originally "Parsian" (literally "Persian"), indicating that it had been a site of some importance in earlier times.
The minaret was originally free standing and dates from 1097. It was built during the reign of Berk-Yaruq, the son of Malek Shah, It stands some 34 metres high and has a strong, simple brickwork pattern. The depressed, cross-shaped areas, which are arranged in columns on the shaft, were once filled with stucco or terracotta inserts.
The Mosque was added some forty years later in 1134, thus making the site one which was more typical of the single prayer chamber with a minaret, rather than the four eivan style which became the standard in Persian Architecture.
Last Updated: October 23, 1998