Distinctive Features of Architectural Elements of Iranian Mosques
The monotheistic view of the Iranian tradition before and after Islam has had a significant influence in the field of religious architecture, giving a form and meaning to each architectural element such as space, form, color, light and matter.
Mosques, with their unique style and form, are one of the central symbols and places of Muslim culture. Since the arrival of Islam in Persia and with the construction of the first mosques, these buildings have played a full part in the social, religious and political history of the country, while playing a role negligible in the field of education. The fall of the Sassanid dynasty following the Muslim conquest led to the use of traditional Persian architectural forms in Muslim religious buildings in Iran. Arts such as calligraphy, stucco, the use of mirrors and mosaics have been gradually incorporated into the architecture of mosques in Persia.
The monotheistic view of the Iranian tradition before and after Islam has had a significant influence in the field of religious architecture, giving a form and meaning to each architectural element such as space, form, color, light and matter. More specifically, Iranian Islamic architecture is influenced by two currents: one consisting essentially of elements external to the indigenous culture of Iran, and the other influenced by elements specific to the Persian culture before the Islam. Thus, the presence of arches, vaults, domes on square base and verandas is a legacy of the Parthian Era (250-226 BC), Sassanid (224-652 BC). ) and Achaemenid (559-321 BC). With the arrival of Islam, Iranian architecture was influenced by China and the West, and new motifs and materials were used in the construction of mosques. Although varied, the architecture of the Iranian mosques remains governed for several centuries by the following principles: the existence of an outer courtyard in the center of the structure, the use of static, as well as the use of local materials.
Aesthetic elements of the architecture of Iranian mosques
Light is the main feature of mosque architecture in Iran. Symbol of divine wisdom and the manifestation of God, it plays an important role in breaking the rigidity of gigantic stone structures. A polished tile often covers the floor, and small pieces of mirror are embedded in the ceiling to reflect light advantageously. Their reflections are thus amplified by light and represent a plurality that embodies unity. White is the symbol of the sanctity and purity of the interior of the mosque. The azure blue, the dominant color in the Iranian mosques, symbolizes the immensity of the sky and the absolute. Turquoise is also a symbol of holiness, while yellow evokes light. Green, combined with yellow and blue, is a symbol of peace and hope, but also of science and faith. The ubiquitous water in the form of fountains is the foundation of life and the purifying element. Its presence also allows to introduce a certain flexibility and beauty in the structure. It also serves as a mirror reflecting the image of the mosque.
In addition to these common motifs and symbols, Iranian mosques generally include such things as the dome, cloister, courtyard, portico and mihrab oriented towards Mecca. We give here a quick overview.
- The main role of lighthouses or minarets is to focus the light. They were built to guide pedestrians lost in the desert and awaken sleepy souls. They are an incarnation of the divine orientation.
- The dome has a circular base, as an image of an infinite whole. The division of the initial circle into equal arcs symbolizes the plurality necessary to attain unity, the symbol of the Almighty. The Iranian domes are conical, plain and discreet. The water basin in the mosque, which is used especially for ablutions, is located in the middle of the courtyard. It also serves as a mirror reflecting the sky with its azure tile background. It thus makes possible the meeting of heaven and earth.
- The miansara, or apron in the central courtyard, is one of the Islamic architectural features of Iran. Rectangular, square or polygonal, it is considered a place of rest for travelers.
- The cloister, inner column around the apron and present in religious architecture from the Parthian period (250-226 BC), consists of a vault; he gives and closes on the apron on three sides. It encloses the exit spaces that hold the sun's rays and facilitate the passage of air. It is decorated with muqarnas, bricks, stucco and tiled floors.
- The mihrab is usually located on the south side of the wall of the mosque, and is oriented towards Mecca.
Most of the historic mosques built by the official authorities are located in the city center, near the markets and the Town Hall. Their importance was such that there was no city without a mosque. The mosque's structural plan, derived from Parthian and Sasanian architecture, had either one, two or even four porches, as well as a combination of four arches. Iran has many mosques famous for their beauty, their cultural and symbolic importance, as well as their Iranian architectural structure. The most famous are the Dezful Mosque (Masjed-Jameh), the Great Mosque and the Blue Mosque of Tabriz, the Nasirol-Molk Mosque of Shiraz, the great Mosques of Hamedan and Bastak in Hormozgan, the Great Mosque (Jameh Mosque). 'Isfahan), the Shah Mosque and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, the Agha Bozorg Mosque in Kashan, the Great Mosque of Nan, the Goharshad Mosque and the Mosque of the Imam Reza Tomb in Mashhad, the Grand Mosques of Neyshābour and Ferdows, the Great Mosques of Borujerd and Qazvin, the Mosque of Imam Zadeh Hossein and the Al-Nabi Mosque of Qazvin, the Jamkaran Mosque of Qom, the Mosque of Imamzadeh Hashem of Damavand, the Grande Mosque of Yazd, and the Mosque of Imamzadeh Saleh of Shemiran.