The Crown Jewel in the Naghs-e Jahan Square and one of the most beautiful mosques in the world is the Masjed-e Shah, which has largest dome in the city. The construction of the royal mosque, was begun in 1612, and despite Shah Abbas’s impatience, took eighteen years to be completed. It represents the combination of a thousand years of mosque building in Persia, with a majesty and splendor that places in among the world's greatest buildings. The richness of its blue-tiled mosaic designs and its perfectly proportioned Safavid-era architecture from a visually stunning monument to the imagination of Shah Abbas I and the ability of his architect.
Arthur Upham Pope: “standing before the Shah Mosque, one is confronted by a symphony of colors, geometric forms, and arabesques, all dominated by the calligraphy of the Sacred Word, for here the entrance to the earthly reflection of the paradise adobe”
Shah Abbas sought the counsel of a group of exceptional engineers and scholars, the most famous of whom were Sheikh Bahayi and Master Engineer Ali Akbar Isfahani. The scale at Masjed e Shah is immense, Piece by piece hundreds of thousands of tiles were put together to create such a perfect, smooth, and radiant surface. As the matter of science, one glance is mentioned by scientists, they measured up to 49 echoes, and only about 12 are audible to the human ear – more than enough for speaker to be heard throughout the mosque.
The Lotfollah Mosque - The Private Room of the Shah's Harem
This mosque is the perfect complement to the overwhelming richness of the larger Masjed-e Shah. Built between 1602 and 1619 during the reign of Shah Abbas I, it is dedicated to the ruler’s father-in-law, Sheikh Lotfollah, a revered Lebanese scholar of Islam who has been invited to Esfahan to oversee the king’s mosque (Masjed-e Shah) and theological school.
The dome makes extensive use of delicate cream-colored tiles that change color throughout the day from cream to pink (sunset is usually the best time to witness this). The signature blue-and-turquoise tiles of Esfahan are evident only around the dome’s summit.
The Lotfollah Mosque had a secret entrance that spanned underneath the Maidan, from the Palace on the opposite side of the square. This mosque is unusual because it has neither a minaret nor a courtyard. This was probably because the mosque was never intended for public use (unlike the Shah Mosque), but rather served as worship place for the women of the shah's haram. Later, when the doors were opened to the public, that ordinary people could admire the effort that Shah Abbas had put into making this exquisite tile-work, which is far superior to those covering the Shah Mosque.