During the reign of Mohammad Shah Qajar and in the 19th century, a great cleric named Mohammad Mehdi Naraghi lived in Kashan. He and his father and brothers, who were considered great Shiite clerics, were originally from Naraq, Kashan. Mullah Mohammad Mehdi was so noticed by the king of the Qajar dynasty, Mohammad Shah, that by his order, Mohammad Mehdi Naraghi was given the title of “Great Agha”.
Before that, Mullah Mohammad Mehdi’s father was called Agha Bozorg in Kashan and his son Mullah Mohammad Mehdi Agha Kuchak. But the Qajar king, because of his devotion to Mullah Mohammad Mahdi, ordered that he be called Agha Bozorg.
The devotion of the Qajar king to the second Agha Bozorg was so great that he ordered the ruler of Kashan to build a mosque and a school for Agha Bozorg for preaching, sermon, and teaching. Thus, a magnificent building was erected near the tomb of Khajeh Tajuddin, which is one of the last buildings in the style of Isfahani architecture and became known as the school and mosque of Agha Bozorg. The construction of this building began during the reign of Mohammad Shah Qajar and was completed during the reign of his son Nasser al-Din Shah.
Features of Agha Bozorg Mosque
The Agha Bozorg Mosque and School in Kashan is one of the last masterpieces of Iranian architecture, built in the style of Isfahani architecture. This building is an exquisite collection of architectural and decorative elements, and a combination of volumes and proportionally intertwined and symmetrical parts, including: entrance and entrance porch, central courtyard, and naves. Also, Agha Bozorg Kashan school with a sunken courtyard design and windbreaks that show the intelligent use of climatic elements. The use of building soil, without leaving any traces or waste at the extraction site, to create materials has resulted in a minimum percentage of energy consumption and non-local additives, the bulk of the required materials are provided from inside the building workshop.
The dome of the Grand Mosque
The height of the dome of the Grand Mosque from the ceiling to the top of the dome is about 18 meters and its circular circumference is about 50 meters. This dome is one of the largest domes of the Qajar period.
The dome of the mosque is built with two minarets on eight open pedestals, which is a special kind of architecture. Because in the design of old mosques in Iran, the creation of domes on free foundations is rarely seen. The reason for using this method is also clear: creating cool air! The weather in Kashan is very hot in summer. Therefore, the architect of the building has built the dome space on a pillar that is open from all around and air can flow inside the dome of the house. The practical result of this design is the flow of cool air in the dome space in the hot seasons and hot summers of the desert region.
Mosque and school with sunken courtyard
The courtyard of the mosque is built in the style of a sunken courtyard. Sunken courtyards are two-story courtyards and courtyards which garden is built on the lower floor.
The sunken courtyards help cool the basement and prevent the water from evaporating too much in the summer. The sunken courtyard, large pond, and gardens help to refresh the space.
All around the sunken courtyard of the school booths. The presence of two windbreaks and a cellar cools the school atmosphere in summer.
Decoration of the mosque and school of Agha Bozorg
Due to the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the Agha Bozorg mosque and school complex, there is no excess in decoration, especially in the tiling of this building. However, the decorations used in the building are of great beauty and elegance and include plastering, painting, woodwork, muqarnas, and tiling. There is also an exquisite pair at the main entrance of the mosque, which is decorated with knots and studs.
Cool weather in the mosque and school of Agha Bozorg
The hallmark of the building of Agha Bozorg Mosque and School is the air conditioning engineering of this building. In addition to windbreaks, the use of which is known in Iranian architecture, the construction of the dome of the house on an open space has allowed the flow of air.
It is as if the brilliant architects of the mosque were so aware of the hot weather in Kashan that they tried to cool the mosque in several ways. The presence of a dome on the stairwell, a sunken courtyard, and windbreaks and a crypt are proof of this.