Ingrid Martinez

Islamic Architecture

Published by Ingrid Martinez on Friday, April 17, 2015.

The three structures I’ve chosen to write about are: The Masjed-e-Hakim, the Ziar Minaret, and the Sharestan Bridge. All build at different periods in the city of Isfahan.

The Masjed-e-Hakim or The Portal of Jorjir, was built between 1656 and 1662. Masjed is the Arabic word for mosque, it served as a mosque for the people. The mosque is not as simple as the earlier mosques, it has an intricate unique style of ornamentation, colorful and busy. The main entrance is the not the most grandiose, but the entrances surrounding the courtyard are tall beautiful pointed arched entryways. This style was popular under the Deylamid rulers. I was drawn to all the stucco art, it’s so intricate and delicate. It shows it took a long time to accomplish the complexity of the patter.

Minarets are tall slender towers, usually attached to a mosque that provided a visual focal point and called people to prayer. The Monar-e-Ziar or the Ziar Minaret was built in the 12th century in East Isfahan. On top of this particular Minaret is the word Allah written. I chose a Minaret because I was curious to know more about their purpose and why it was important for Islamic architecture.

Pol-e Shahrestan or the Shahrestan Bridge, is one of the oldest in Iran. It was built in the 14th century. It models after Roman bridges of the time. It is a well engineered bridge with huge piers to protect the pontoons from the torrent of the Zanyandeh river. It has the capacity to reduce eddies as well having additional venting channels in case of high rise water. Interesting to know that this bridge also carries story of the assassination of Al-Rashid Bellah happening on its grounds in 1138. I chose to to write about this bridge because not only is grand in it’s simplistic beauty, it’s still standing today because of it’s great engineering.

Architecture- Salt Lake City vs. Isfahan

We have a lot of buildings devoted to a specific religion here in Utah. In Salt Lake City, in particular, we have temples, churches and seminary buildings in abundance all belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. The wards and temples are places of worship for the Mormon people. That is where they go to become closer to God. The similarities would be that great importance is given to the architecture for religion practice in both cities. There are lots of temples and ward houses as there are lots of Mosques. The difference is simply the lay out of how these houses of worship look. We don’t really see big domes as a part of the temples or wards. Where I think it’s a requirement for all mosques to have a dome in their buildings of worship.

Other than the Salt Lake City temple, Puritan influence is still very much a part of our architecture. There are plenty of historic buildings that have lots of beautiful character but over all, I feel like they are still toned down from the grand baazars, bridges, mosques, etc.. that you find in Islam architecture. Not to mention the colors!! We have buildings that whisper beautiful, where as some Islamic ornate architecture demand your attention with their bold clay patterns and choice of colors!

Pioneer settlers that made their home here in Salt Lake, definitely had a very conservative way of building their homes. In the few buildings that are still standing, all we see is simple colonial style homes that served their purpose to hold large number of families in them.

It’s great to see how two cities who are in different continents, having faith in two different religions, can still have so many similarities.