Like many other historical mosques in Iran, Agha Bozorg mosque (Persian: مسجد آقا بزرگ; Masjed-e Āghā Bozorg) is a historical mosque in Kashan, Iran; it is not only a mosque but also a school (madrasah). Master-mi’mar Ustad Haj Sa’ban-Ali designed the Mosque in the late 18th century. The complex is named after the Mulla-Mahdi Naraqi II theologian, identified as Aqa Buzurg, and an inscription dates the building from 1832 to 1833 (1248 AH). Agha Bozorgh Mosque was built for prayers, preaching, and teaching sessions conducted by Molla Mahdi Naraghi II, also known as Mulla Mohammad Naraqi, famously known by the Shah himself for his title of Āghā Bozorgh (literally meaning large or great lord). This magnificent mosque has a vibrant backyard and even an underground oasis for prayer ceremonies. Its blue and turquoise tiles, which are tactfully and beautifully arranged next to each other to form fascinating Persian geometric patterns, are undoubtedly the most eye-catching feature of this location. Another charming piece of Persian architecture can be found by visitors in the yard. Good examples of this art are the central courtyard and the lovely pool in the middle.
Agha Bozorg Mosque, Kashan, Iran
On the northwestern side, at the end of a high street lined with stores, is the entrance to the complex. It takes the shape of an iwan-portal, arched, and domed. This portal leads from an arched aperture located directly opposite the entrance portal to a high, domed vestibule that overlooks the courtyard. Two archways leading to a flight of a few stairs that lead to an open roof terrace overlooking both levels of the courtyard flank this opening. The mosque has been described as “the finest Islamic complex in Kashan and one of the best of the mid-19th century.” There was also a religious school (madrasah) next to the mosque, all of which combined to form a single building. Badgir, the typical wind-catcher in Persian architecture that functioned as the building’s air-conditioner, also has this location. All these things reflect the simple lives of both the people and the Kashan rulers many years ago. The ground floor of the mosque can be reached by flights of stairs leading to hallways at its four corners. It has a pool at its middle and is surrounded by dormitories for madrasa students on three sides. Under the roof terrace and entrance pavilion, on the northwestern side, is a basement (sardab) consisting of a vast open space vaulted with deep arches. From this subterranean structure, flanking the entrance pavilion, wind catchers (badgir) in the form of towers rise. There are two minarets in the iwan in front of Mehrab with a brick dome. It was here that Ustad Ali Maryam began his architecture career as a pupil. The Mosque of Agha Bozorg is in the heart of Kashan, so tourists have easy access to most of Kashan’s popular tourist attractions.