Jame Mosque of Naein
To discover the old architectural style of mosques in Iran, you have this option to visit Jame Mosque of Naein on the way from Isfahan to Yazd, or vice versa.
You may have already noticed the difference between Iranian architectural style of mosques and the ones in most other Islamic countries. A good reason to inspire many people to check out the mosques in Iran. However, even in Iran you can find various types of mosques, depending on the date of construction or restorations. Despite the special Iranian form of having 2 or 4 Ivans (façades) in the central court of a mosque, like in Jame Mosques of Isfahan, Abbasi Mosque, Nasir-al Molk, and Jame Mosque of Yazd, you can also find the old architectural style of mosques in some cities around Iran. These mosques usually have no domes and facades (Ivans), and recognizable with a single high minaret, made of brick. Two famous samples of this type of mosques are Tarikhaneh in Damghan (4 hours drive from Tehran) and Jame Mosque of Naein. Although you can find some other mosques of this style around Iran, but these two mosques have special elements and are historically important.
The construction date of Naein Jame mosque dates back to early centuries of Islam in Iran. So we can consider it being built between 8th and 10th centuries AD. The first things that grabs your attention is the 28 meters high octagonal minaret, visible from far distances. The mosque had 6 entrances in old days, but now only the one in the southern side is open, but you can see the beautiful 13th century entrance, if you keep walking outside the mosque, along the main door as seen in the photo below.
There is a central court-yard surrounded by hypostyle prayer halls in three sides. These columns have different shapes and designs. There are some places, which you can see the original bricks uncovered in the walls that were later covered with layers of mud and thatch, or white stucco.
One of the most eye-catching parts of the mosque is Mehrab (prayer niche) and the detailed stucco works. Here we can see the impact of Iranian art on Islamic buildings in the form of floral and herbal designs, completed by old calligraphies of Quranic verses, enduring 1000 years, unchanged!
One of the important artifacts of the mosque is the old wooden Menbar (pulpit for giving speech by imam) dating back to 700 years ago, due to the date inscribed on its top left. Here is one of the places to take some good shots!
There is also a basement (dug underground the mosque) for using in hot summer days to escape the severe heat. It is simply covered by white stucco, but seeing it is an experience, worth going up and down some stairs!
Outside Jame Mosque of Naein, there is also a dome, related to another religious building, but not a part of the mosque, and just a few steps further, you can visit Pirnia House & Museum. There is a travelogue including Naein’s attractions, How to Tour Yazd and its Deserts in 3 Days, which is also good to find more information of Naein and nearby cities.