Masjed Jame Esfahan
Masjed-e Jāme' is the oldest Friday (congregational) mosque in Iran, located in the historical center of Esfahan. The monument illustrates a sequence of architectural construction and decorative styles of different periods Iranian Islamic architercture, covering 12 centuries, most predominantly the Abbasid, Buyid, Seljuq, Ilkhanid, Muzzafarid, Timurid and Safavid eras.
Following its Seljuq expansion and the characteristic introduction of the four iwans (Chahar Ayvān) around the courtyard as well as two extraordinary domes, the mosque became the prototype of a distinctive Islamic architectural style. The prototype character is well illustrated in the earliest doble- shell ribbed Nezam al-Molk dome, the first use of the four iwan (Chahar Ayvān) typology in Islamic architecture, as well as the textbook character of the Masjed-e Jāme' as a compilation of Islamic architectural styles. The Masjed-e Jāme' of Esfahan is an outstanding example of innovation in architectural adaptation and technology applied during the restoration and expansion of an earlier mosque complex during the Seljuq era, which has been further enlarged during later Islamic periods by addition of high quality extensions and decoration.
Masjed-e Jāme is the first Islamic building that adapted the four- iwan (Chahar Ayvān) courtyard layout of Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture and thereby became the prototype construction for a new layout and aesthetic in mosque design. The Nezam al-Molk Dome is the first double-shell ribbed dome structure in the Islamic empire, which introduced new engineering skills, allowing for more elaborate dome constructions in later mosque and burial complexes. On the basis of these two elements, the Masjed-e Jāme is a recognized prototype for mosque design, layout construction, which was referenced in several later eras and regions of the Islamic world.