|We have divided our treatment of the mosque into sections in order that viewers with a specific area in mind, can go directly to the object of their interest; however a comprehensive tour of the mosque is also available for the casual visitor by clicking on the "Way In" button.
As of April 2001, parts of the mosque, including the Madrasa-ye-Omar have been closed to visitors while restoration takes place. In other places gates and concrete partitions have been put in place to control the flow of visitors.
Sanctuary of Nizam Al-Mulk
Shabestan of Oljeitu
Last Updated: 12 April 2001
The Masjed-e-Jomeh or Friday Mosque is equivalent in importance to a cathedral in a Christian city. The Friday Mosque in Isfahan is a dynamic expression of some 400 years of Iranian Architecture encapsulated into the small area it occupies. In some ways it therefore brings together many of the themes and decorative ideas which achieved individual expression in other monuments throughout the city. It is almost as though, by spending a day or two in this mosque, you can see most of the rest of the architecture of the city.|
The Mosque dominates this area of Isfahan, as you can see by selecting this general view, taken from the South-West from the roof of Haroun Vilayat. The picture shows the four principal "eivans" and also the "Madrasa-ye-Omar" to the right of the picture. The dome of Taj ul-Mulk is just out of sight behind the large dome in the foreground which is covers the Sanctuary of Nizam ul-Mulk.
A model has recently been placed inside the entrance to the mosque and this clearly shws the layout. The lower, southern side, is the oldest along with the prayer chamber to the north. The western side is next in antiquity but the north-eastern corner also holds much that is unusual and rare.
The entrance to the mosque is above a flight of stairs, squeezed between the stalls in the bazaar. Although the main entrances are open at prayer times, this is the only entrance open at any other times, and leads off a small bazaar next to the Meidan-e-Qiyam, which is probably where the taxi will drop you if you take one. You will need to buy a ticket when you enter the mosque but this now appears to include the Mehrab of Oljeitu and the Shabestan, which are the most beautiful and important constituents of the mosque and well-worth paying for in their own right.
The Mosque needs also to be seen in context as one end of a dynamic stream of passageways that form a link between the Meidan-e-Shah and its treasures at one extreme and the older, northern, populist parts of the city, epitomised by the Mosque and its associated bazaars at the other. Between these two extremes, like a river, the bazaar flows, moving the people between state and religion, between hard work and aspirations. Other bazaars and passageways lead away from the mosque towards older, less well documented parts of the city, with obscure and poorly understood monuments to the north, west and east. It thus provides a terminus and a springboard, a bridge between the mediaeval and renaissance parts of the city.