Map of Masjed-e-Jomeh This eivan or portico leads into some of the oldest parts of the mosque which are reputedly built on an old sacred Zoroastrian fire temple, although current thinking is that this is unlikely. Nevertheless, when you are visiting a constant stream of Isfahanis will come and regale you with this story. The only fully authenticated site for one of these is the atashgah, a few kilometres to the west of the city. The wealth of detail and artistic ingenuity on this eivan, as shown above, is quite remarkable and dates from the Seljuk to Safavid periods.
The foundations for this porch were laid during the Seljuk period at the start of the 12th Century by Nizam Al Mulk, although there was certainly an older building of some kind here as evidenced by the walls which have been found below the current floor of the interior and which were being excavated in April 1999. The roof was rebuilt by Ouzun Hassan Beik Aq-Quiunlu in 1475/6 according to an inscription in the interior and the two minarets were added at the same time. The marble plinths and some of the raised mosaic tilework inside the eivan date from Ouzun Hassan's time and the latter are probably made by the same hand as those in the contemporary Darb-e-Imam. Further extensive modifications took place under Shah Tahmasb.
The panels on either side of the eivan show a wealth of artistry. Just below the top left panel there is an inscription commemorating a lady called "Agha Soltan". Honarfar says nothing further is known of her, but it is tempting to think that it may be Soltan Bakht Agha whose tomb is nearby.

Last Updated: 17 April, 1999