More than a century after the death of Shah Abbas I, the impetus given to architecture by him in Isfahan gave rise to this magnificent Theological college built by his pious but ineffectual descendent, Shah Sultan Hussein. The complex consists of a theological college, whose dome is visible in this picture, a bazaar and a caravanserai which has now been re-constituted as the Shah Abbas Hotel. The college is normally closed to all visitors.
The main entrance is directly off Chahar Bagh, the main avenue, through a splendid octagonal vestibule which has beautiful yet simple tilework in the roof. Here there is a fine font and the visitor looks out over the garden which forms the centre of the complex. The eivan itself is impressive yet restful. The monumental nature of the Kufic inscriptions on the tower and the base of the dome is softened by the garden across which it is vieiwed.
The College is still used as such today, which is one reason it is normally closed to visitors. It has been said that this was the last great building to be erected in Isfahan, certainly it shows all the vigour and imagination of the earlier architecture without incorporating external influences.
Last Updated: November 08, 1998