A Comparative Study of the Architectural Features’ Designs: Masjid- Madreseh of Qajar and Safavid School

Document Type : Original Article


1 Professor of Architecture, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Architecture, Faculty of Urban and Architecture, Jundishapur University of Technology, Dezfol, Iran.

3 Associate Professor of Architecture, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Central Tehran branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


One of the major monuments of Islamic architecture is religious schools which have appeared at Seljuk period in Nazmyeh and have continued to be at Qajar with ups and downs. The peak of Masjid- Madreseh construction is in the early Qajar period which led to establish Dar-al-fonoun school at the short time. Integration and combination of two functions of mosque and school in these spaces made an innovation in architecture of these buildings which is not observed even in magnificent Safavid. Mosque-schools as  the most important architectural monuments which are compared with the other schools have been less studied and analyzed. Few books and articles, written regarding to the architecture of Mosque - schools are just a description of the history, printing maps and some remained pictures This paper is intended to present the physical characteristics in architectural design of the mosque-school by choosing ten samples and to compare them with ten segments of Safavid schools. Obviously, disability to deal with all aspects of architecture in these samples is the limitation of this article. This article’s innovation is the investigation of the overall scheme of mosque-schools in Safavid dynasty using comparing method to compare schools regarding to the features such as dimensions, hierarchies, area, climate, structures, facilities, and decorations. What seems significant to achieve stylistic features, is to check all the necessary items that may not be possible to use in these spaces. Also, in order to facilitate the analysis of findings, the results are presented in the tables. This descriptive – analytical study has applied both library and field research methods, to assess and evaluate innovations and changes in  overall schemes of Qajar mosque - schools compared with the schools in Safavid period. Moreover, regarding to the ten segments, each of two selected schools and their features have been analyzed. In library method, required data are extracted and collected from various sources. These resources include information in National Library, University Library, Documents of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism, a number of major websites such as Wikipedia, and other sources which are archives of photos, cultural monuments of cultural heritage sites, documents and information about various parts of heritage cities and provinces such as Isfahan, Kashan, Tehran, Shiraz, and Mashhad. The selection of the mosque - schools and schools in Safavid dynasty, conducted by researchers, used to judge about the importance of the plan and architectural monuments of each period. To increase the validity of results, this study tried to select proper samples spread all over each period from the beginning to the end. Therefore, the mosque - schools of New Sepahsalar (Shahid Motahari), old Sepahsalar (Shahid Beheshti), Philosophodole, Haj Ganbar Ali Khan, Moshyralsaltaneh (aghsa), Memar bashi, Sardar anad salehiye of Qazvin, Seyed of Isfahan, Agha Bozorgh of Kashan in Qajar period and Large Jaddah, Jalaliye, Chahar bagh, Kasegaran, Mullo Abdullo, Nimavard of Isfahan, Khan and Hakim of shiraz, and Kheirat khan and Navab of Mashhad in Safavid were selected. The findings show that Masjid-Madresehs of Qajar do not follow a specific architectural pattern, while schools of Safavid have an architectural pattern of the two porches. The architecture of Masjid– Madreseh spaces in Qajar era is more complex and various than Safavid schools, So there are some chamber, teacher, library and entrance vestibules, different areas, such as the dome, nave, forty pillars, minarets, finial and Abrizgah, water storage, pool house, bathroom, sick house, kitchen and tomb formed in mosque – schools during Qajar period. There are reduced numbers of rooms in Qajar schools while there are Mahtabi spaces, four Gonbadkhaneh directions, and a cross-shaped plan in Safavid schools which have been caused the Masjid– Madreseh’s courtyard has become an open and light space. In addition, the Clock Tower in the Masjid– Madreseh of Qajar era is symptom of West and western renewal.


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