Ministry matters

Restoration of the Imam Mosque: the Ministry of Tourism forms a special committee to correct the defects

TEHRAN — Iran’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts has set up a special committee to oversee new restoration work to be carried out on the UNESCO-listed Imam Mosque in Isfahan. .

Rows of faulty tiles, which are now promised to be replaced with flawless tiles, were revealed earlier this year when scaffolding was partially removed from the dome of the majestic mosque after years of restoration.

The tourism chief of Isfahan said that the faulty and problematic tiles that cause irregularities in the surface of the dome of the Imam Mosque will be removed and new tiles will be installed instead.

“After the removal of part of the scaffolding from the dome of the Imam Mosque, defects and problems in terms of unevenness were observed in some parts of it, especially in the 15th and 16th sections, and we promise people and people interested in cultural heritage that these problems will be solved with careful, specialized and compassionate work,” explained Alireza Izadi.

The issue came to the fore in July when photos posted on social media sparked reactions to the restoration of the 17th-century dome.

Mud-brick buildings are generally more susceptible than stone structures, Izadi said. “Brick domes such as those of the Imam Mosque or the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque are no exception to this rule, and its conditions should be fully investigated from a scientific and professional point of view.”

“When a historic building, for example a dome, is (entirely) surrounded by scaffolding, we cannot visually identify whether it is uneven…it cannot be recognized correctly.”

A masterpiece of Islamic architecture, the Imam Mosque stands at the southern end of the UNESCO-listed Naghsh-e Jahan Square. (Imam Square) in Isfahan, central Iran. The majestic place of worship is impressive in its size and incredible decoration.

Originally named Masjed Shah (“the Shah’s Mosque”), its construction began in 1611 during the reign of Safavid King Shah Abbas the Great, who ruled from 1588 to 1629. The mosque’s highest dome was completed in during the last year of his sovereignty.

Its interior and exterior walls are entirely decorated with a coating of polychrome glazed tiles, mainly dark blue, above a continuous marble dado. A huge and very picturesque entrance portal leads visitors to the Imam Mosque, whose courtyard walls feature sunken porches framed by tiles of seven dark blue and yellow colors. Each iwan leads to a vaulted sanctuary covered with particularly fine floral motifs on a blue background. Some visitors say that every part of the Imam Mosque is a masterpiece that leaves a lasting impression.

Many believe that each of the parts of the mosque is a work of genius that leaves a lasting impression. This devotional palace owes its splendor mainly to the fact that it is covered with seven-color mosaic tiles and symmetrical calligraphic inscriptions.

Half the world?

Steeped in a colorful history, Isfahan was once a hub of international trade and diplomacy in Iran and is now one of Iran’s top tourist destinations for good reason. It is full of many architectural marvels, such as unparalleled Islamic buildings, bazaars, museums, Persian gardens, and tree-lined boulevards. It is a city to walk around, get lost in its incredible bazaars, doze in beautiful gardens and meet people.

Isfahan is famous not only for the abundance of great historical bridges, but also for its “life-giving river”, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has long given the city original beauty and fertility.

The city has long been nicknamed Nesf-e-Jahan, which translates to “half the world”; which means it is relevant to see half the world. At its height, it was also one of the largest cities in the region with a population of nearly one million. The cool blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings and the city’s majestic bridges contrast perfectly with the hot, dry Iranian countryside that surrounds it.

Place Imam is hemmed on four sides by magnificent buildings: to the east, the Cheikh Lotfollah mosque; to the west, the palace of Ali Qapu; to the north, the portico of Qeysarieh; and to the south, the prominent Imam Mosque.

“The square was central to the culture, economy, religion, social power, government and politics of the Safavid capital. Its wide, sandy esplanade was used for parties, promenades and public executions, for playing polo and for mustering troops,” according to the UNESCO website.

Just at the northern edge of Imam Square, one will find the “Qeysarieh Gate”, which leads to the unique and unforgettable “Grand Bazaar of Isfahan”. This vaulted market is one of the largest and most labyrinthine bazaars in the country. Shops offer handicrafts, souvenirs, jewelry, silverware, traditional ceramics and authentic Persian rugs.

Modern Isfahan is now home to heavy industry, including steelworks and a nuclear facility on its outskirts. However, its inner core wants to be preserved as a priceless gem. The city is also home to a gigantic, professional and technologically advanced healthcare city, which is a major destination in the field of medical tourism.