Agha Bozorg Mosque, A beautiful nineteenth century mosque in Kashan, just in the middle of the route between Tehran and Isfahan!
No first time visitors to Iran can skip the beautiful city of Kashan while traveling from Tehran to Isfahan or vice versa. Kashan is the city of historical houses, a UNESCO world heritage garden, rose flowers, carpets, and not to forget to mention, a beautiful and somehow different mosques in Iran. Most buildings in Kashan (except for a few) date back to post 19th century, because of the heavy earthquake in 1778 leveled the city to the ground, however it didn’t cause the ancient city and the hardworking people not to survive and flourish again. Though houses being rebuilt, bazars renovated, and new mosques constructed. One of these mosques, considered as one of the finest Islamic complexes of the mid-nineteenth century by some experts, is Agha Bozorg Mosque. Agha Bozorg mosque has been in use also as a madrasa (religious school and university) since around 1840s.
What has made this mosque special than others of the same time is the symmetric architecture and having different levels. To reach the mosque, you need to go down an ally from the main street. Here you face the old wooden door decorated and strengthened with thousands of iron nails, making it both eye-catching and resistant to erosion by termites.
When you pass through the typical entrance, you find yourself in front of a simple brick dome. The dome has a diameter of 50 meters, and it is 18 meters higher than the mosque rooftop. Here, unlike other mosques, you can see the other side of the dome chamber through the entrances. It is due to the placement of the Mihrab -prayers niche towards qibla (Mecca) – in the right side of the chamber. Though, the mosque is not oriented towards south-east (Mecca). The dome is built over eight free columns, unlike the usual style of constructing domes in older mosques. This method also helps the air flow through the chamber to make it more pleasant to stay.
Then you need to take a few stairs down to a balcony-like passage to reach the main prayer halls and the dome. Here you can visibly see the courtyard downstairs with small gardens and a pond in the center, which hosts the schoolrooms around it. This is also one of the main differences of Agha Bozorg mosque, compared to most other mosques around Iran. This design also help the natural air-conditioning of the mosque and the madrasa; it is some meters underground, it has more shadow, and of course there is a small water pond! There are also two wind-catchers (baadgir or wind tower) like many other historical buildings in Kashan to help the acclimatization in the hot summer days.
The decorations and tile works inside the mosque are simple, which is also a reason to make it stand out in a visitor’s eye. So if you ever had the opportunity to travel to Kashan, put it in your city tour itinerary. You can also choose one of our Iran tours that include Iran or design your own trip with our consultants.