Located on the southern side of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan, Imam Mosque (Masjid-e Imam) is one of the finest and the most stunning buildings in the world.
The mosque, whose construction was started in 1612 during the reign of Shah Abbas I, represents the culmination of a thousand years of mosque building and a magnificent example of architecture, stone carving and tilework in Iran.
With a majesty and splendor that places it among the world’s greatest buildings, the mosque is an excellent example of Islamic architecture of Iran and a masterpiece of Persian architecture, Iranreview reported.
Registered along with Naqsh-e Jahan Square as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mosque’s splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions.
The acoustic properties and reflections under the dome attract the attention of many visitors.
The portal, almost a building in itself and more an aspect of the square rather than of the mosque, forms a welcoming embrace, inviting and guiding the throngs outside into the mosque.
In fact, it is the most thrilling example of human artifice that could be imagined. Its height amounts to 30 meters, the flanking minarets are 42 meters tall with the sanctuary minarets higher still, 48 meters.
The two panels, which flank the actual entrance within the recess, carry the design of a prayer rug--a reminder of the mosque’s essential purpose.
A mosaic tile inscription by Alireza Abbasi can be seen on the main portal of the mosque, which is dated 1616 AD (completion date of the portal).
However, Shah Abbas needed a showplace, just as he needed the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque for private meditation, and he built this whole gigantic structure, with two theological schools in the few years from 1612 until his death in 1629, the year of the great copula’s completion.
Through the outer portal, one enters a noble vestibule, which is a usual feature. Octagonal, it has no particular direction; it can therefore serve as a pivot on which the axis of the building is turned, the gateway to another world of splendor and concentrated power.
Of the classical-jour verandahs, the west verandah has a wide porch surmounted by a minaret. The south verandah (also the largest) opens to reveal a great prayer hall topped by a double cupola 38 meters high on the inside and 52 meters on the outside (leaving a 12-meter empty space that serves as an extraordinary “echo chamber”, since a speaker in the prayer niche can be distinctly heard in all other parts of the mosque).
Its surface decoration is of the most sumptuous richness, a floral design in gold, yellow and white spiraling on a deep blue ground. In the center of the great prayer hall, look out for a few black stones underneath the dome, which when stamped upon create seven clear echoes. Try it for yourself; everyone else does.
The fact that sound is equally carried to all parts of the dome chamber and cloisters on each side as well as to the courtyard and the lateral porches indicates that four centuries ago, Iranian architects were able to produce buildings provided with acoustics not inferior to those of any modern building.
Great jasper and marble bowls like fonts each made of a solid stone block can be seen near the portal gate, under the western and eastern domes, and in the cloisters on both sides of the great southern prayer hall. These are unique in terms of delicacy and care with which they were made. They used to be filled, on auspicious occasions, with sherbets to quench the thirst of worshipping throngs in summer.
The Seljuks and the Safavids found the Imam Mosque as a channel through which they could express themselves with their numerous architectural techniques. The four-verandah format, finalized by the Seljuk Dynasty, firmly established the courtyard facade of such mosques as more important than their exterior ones. During the Seljuk rule, as Islamic mysticism was on the rise in the region, the four-verandah arrangement came to be interpreted as seeking true meaning within the appearance.
Their presence can serve the sole purpose of being the passageway between the material world and that of the spiritual. It must also be noted that glazed brickwork and tiling had little appeal to the Seljuks, as they primarily favored the distinct tranquil color of turquoise blue.
Facing northwards, the mosque’s portal to the square is usually under shadow but since it has been coated with radiant tile mosaics, it glitters with a predominantly blue light of extraordinary intensity. The ornamentation of the structures is utterly traditional, as it recaptures the classic Iranian motifs of symbolic appeal for fruitfulness and effectiveness.
Within the symmetrical arcades and the balanced verandahs, one is drowned by the endless waves of intricate arabesque in golden yellow and dark blue that bless the spectator with a space of internal serenity.
Covered with premeditated calligraphic fresco, the front doors are used as an apparatus to remind the spectator of the glory of God. Entering from the northern verandah, the compelling physical presence of the identical verandahs cannot escape the attention of visitors. As a result, such architecture stresses the degree of fidelity in the structure that makes it explicitly pervasive.
1st Woodwork Museum Opens in Dezful
The first Museum of Woods and Woodwork of Khuzestan province opened in Dezful.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Mohammad Hassan Salehi-Maram, and other officials.
He also held a number of meetings with craftsmen during his stay in the province.
Salehi –Maram also attended the gathering held on handicrafts from southern and southeastern Iran.
During the session attended by the officials of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism departments of 12 provinces, the challenges faced by those involved in the handicraft industry and capabilities of handicraft producers were discussed.
Participants talked about strategies that should be adopted for gaining a foothold in the market of Persian Gulf littoral states by adopting proper marketing strategies.
Salehi-Maram said earlier that Iranian handicrafts play a vey significant role in the country’s economy and can replace oil export.
He said gaining a foothold in the Iraqi market is among the priorities of the organization.
The official noted that handicraft unions are important, as they introduce Iranian handicrafts to visitors.
Criticizing regulations that hinder the development of handicraft exports, Salehi-Maram said a committee has been established to facilitate the export of Iranian handicrafts.
Book on Old Carpet Designs Ready for Publication
Based on the agreement signed between Iran Carpet Company and Carpet Museum of Iran, more than 100 old designs of Persian rug will be published in a exquisite book.
Based on the report released by CHTN, Managing Director of Iran Carpet Company Mohammad Reza Abed said the valuable collection of carpet designs will be published in Persian and English.
“The designs, which have so far been kept from public viewing by the company and museum, will be made available in the form of a book,” he said.
The official said the measure will help promote Persian rugs in the international markets, adding that with respect to the strategies adopted for distribution of the book in foreign countries, the ancient charm of the Iranian carpet will be revealed to its readers.
Abed said prominent Iranian carpet researchers are among the main compilers of the book.
The Peacock’s Excuse
By Fariduddin Attar
The peacock, splendidly arrayed
In many-colored pomp, this he displayed
As if he were some proud, self-conscious bride
Turning with haughty looks from side to side.
The Painter of the world created me,
It shrieked, but this celestial wealth you see
Should not excite your hearts to jealousy.
I was a dweller once in paradise,
There the insinuating snake’s advice
Deceived me; I became his friend, disgrace
Was swift and I was banished from that place.
My dearest hope is that some blessed day
A guide will come to indicate the way
Back to my paradise. The king you praise
Is too unknown a goal, my inward gaze
Is fixed for ever on that lovely land
There is the goal which I can understand.
How could I seek the Simorgh out when I
Remember paradise? In reply,
The hoopoe said: These thoughts have made you stray
Further and further from the Right Way;
You think your monarch’s palace of more worth
Than Him who fashioned it and all the earth.
The home we seek is in eternity;
The truth we seek is like a shoreless sea,
Of which your paradise is but a drop.
This ocean can be yours; why should you stop
Beguiled by dreams of evanescent dew?
The secrets of the sun are yours, but you
Content yourself with motes trapped in its beams.
Turn to what truly lives, reject what seems
Which matters more, the body or the soul?
Be whole, desire and journey to the Whole.
Broken rice, 1 cup
Milk, 3 cups
Water, 2 cups
Rosewater, 1/2 cup
Sugar, 4 tablespoons
Cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
Almonds, 1/4 cup (Slivered)
Wash rice and drain. Place water in a pot, add rice and bring to a boil. Stir frequently to avoid clumping. Remove any foam from surface.
Once rice turns soft and mushy reduce heat to low, add milk, sugar, rosewater and cardamom. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir often to avoid clumping and break up lumps.
Once cooked, ladle mixture into single serving bowls or large dessert dish. Decorate surface with almonds and cinnamon.
To serve chilled, place in a fridge for an hour.
Health Benefits of Rice
Some of the health benefits of rice are as follows:
• As rice is rich in carbohydrates, it acts as fuel for the body and aids in normal functioning of the brain.
• Eating rice is extremely beneficial for health, as it does not contain harmful fats, cholesterol or sodium. It forms an integral part of a balanced diet.
• Rice is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fiber, iron, thiamine and riboflavin.
• Rice abounds in resistant starch, which reaches the bowel in undigested form. It aids the growth of useful bacteria for normal bowel movements.
• As rice is low in sodium, it is considered the best food for those suffering from high blood pressure and hypertension.
• Whole grain rice like brown rice is rich in insoluble fiber that can possibly protect against many types of cancers. Many scientists believe that such insoluble fibers are vital for protecting the body against cancerous cells.
• The husk of rice is considered an effective medicine to treat dysentery. A three-month-old rice plant’s husk is said to contain diuretic properties. Chinese people believe that rice considerably increases appetite, cures stomach ailments and indigestion problems.
• Medical experts say powdered rice can be applied to cure some forms of skin ailments. In the Indian subcontinent, rice water is duly prescribed by practitioners of traditional medicine as an effective ointment to cool off inflamed skin surfaces.
• Brown rice is said to contain high levels of neurotransmitter nutrients that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease to a considerable extent.
Most embroidered products of Kiar city in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province are exported to Persian Gulf states, which is the main source of the city’s revenues.