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Geophysical Surveys to Start in Isfahan's Grand Mosque

Iranian and Italian archeologists hope to thoroughly recognize the development trajectory of Isfahan's Grand Mosque and its varied architecture eras by conducting geophysical measurements, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported on Monday.

The grand mosque, also known as Atigh Mosque, is one of the most splendid historical monuments in Isfahan, having experienced a sundry of renovations and developments, which experts believe can indicate Iran's architecture history.

It is the first season of geophysics surveys in the mosque, jointly carried out by Iran and Italy. Experts from both nations are going try to recognize the underlying architectural layers of the monument. In geophysical surveys, archeologists use electronic thermo-measuring machines to identify the construction material and then special scanners transform the data into maps.

"We aim to produce a thorough and detailed picture of the architectural remains under the mosque, without resorting to common methods and tools, which might damage its fabric," said Fariba Saeidi, head of the Irano-Italian team.

The mosque is a marvel of Safavids art and magnificent example of the extravagant architecture that constituted the glory of Isfahan at the time. The two minarets of the north portal, the high cupola (170 feet) and minarets of the south portal (160 feet), and the pointed roof of the gold dominate the arcades of the square. The finest view of the mosque is from the upper story of Ali Qapu Palace where you can see the entire structure of the minarets, the stalactite vaults of the portals, and the splendid cupola with its high drum and characteristic bulb-shaped dome.

In order to align the mosque with Mecca while maintaining the integrity of the square, the mosque is set at an angle of about 45 degrees to the gateway, the plan was similar to the earlier Mosque of Lutfallah on the east side of the square. The building largely follows Seljuk tradition, conforming to the four-iwan plan, each leading to a domed hall and flanked by double-storey arcades with pointed niches of the Seljuk type. The largest iwan is on the Qibla side and has in fact a massive panel and dome itself set on a large drum. Beyond the iwans east and west of the courtyard are madrasas or religious colleges. Minarets are paired at both the entry portal and the south iwan. The southern dome, a bulbous form supported on a tall drum, is the largest and the only one decorated.

... Payvand News - 7/12/04 ... --

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