The mosque of ‘Agha Bozorg’ in Kashan is one of the best mosques in Iran. The historical mosque was built in the late 18th century & is famous for its precise, symmetric architecture & attractive appearance.
‘Agha Bozorg’ was constructed by the master architect ‘Ustad Haj Sa’ban-Ali’ & was assisted by his pupil named ‘Ustad Ali Maryam’, who later on became one of the most famous architects of Persia. The mosque houses a theological school (Madrasah), which is situated in the center of this grand mosque. The mosque was constructed for holding prayers & preaching sessions carried out by ‘Mullah Mahdi Naraghi II’, known as ‘Agha Bozorg’ & is affiliated to the ‘Shia’, the second largest denomination of Islam.
The ‘Agha Bozorg’ is famous for its symmetric design. The mosque consists of four porches, two ornate minarets & a brilliant brick dome. Two large iwans of the mosque are highly decorated using calligraphy bands & the tile work bearing red, blue or yellow colors against the brick ground. One of the iwan is situated in front of the mihrab (the decorated niche indicating the direction of Mecca) & the other is located near the entrance. The wooden front door of the mosque is adorned with as many jewels as there are verses in the Quran.
The imposing dome of the mosque is built on the octagonal podium & consists of double layers. The lower covering of the dome carries the weight of the ceiling & resides on the strong pilasters, whereas, the outer cladding enlarges the appearance of the dome. Various versus from the Quran are inscribed on & around the dome, which helps it in blending harmoniously with the rest of the structure. The dome is situated right above the mihrab in the mosque.
The beautiful dome is flanked by a couple of amazing minarets adorned with colorful tiles arranged in some geometric shapes. Mosaics & the inscriptions of verses from the Quran can be seen adorning the majority of the interior of ‘Agha Bozorg’. The ceiling of its sunken as well as the first level chambers bears pretty Spartan decorations, whereas, the outer part, around the arcades dons vibrant mosaics.
The massive courtyard is one of the most notable features of the ‘Agha Bozorg’. The courtyard is flanked by a number of chambers & arcades & holds another smaller court residing at a lower level than the outer one. The lower level court possesses a small pond, a fountain & a surrounding garden edged by another series of chambers & arcades which are used in the hot summer days to protect from the soaring heat.
Although the magnificent mosque of ‘Agha Bozorg’ is decorated using the moderate use of colored tiles & mosaics, its appearance is very much ascetic in nature. The cobbled veranda & brick walls of the mosque make it look simple yet elegant. No doubt why the Agha Bozorg mosque is considered as the finest Islamic complex not only in Kashan but also in Iran!