Agha Bozorg mosque and madrasa
The construction of the mosque and madrasa (theological school) Āgha Bozorg began in the year 1258 (lunar egira) by the architect Hāj Sha'bān, thanks to the personal investment of Hāj Mohammad Taghi Khānbān and was completed in year 1265.
The name of this mosque derives from that of its first Imam jamā'at, the mullah Mahdi Narāghi, known by the appellation of Āgha Bozorg.
This complex was built in the style of the Chahārbāgh and Sadr di Esfahan madrasas in the old part of the city of Kāshān, near the mausoleum of Khāje Tāj Al-Din, in a district bearing the same name, on the ruins of a building belonging to the ninth century of the lunar Hegira remained standing after the earthquake of the 1192 (lunar Egira).
The Āgha Bozorg mosque, which is the only five-story of the Islamic world, is earthquake-proof and the material it is composed of was made with the same earth dug in the place of its construction. At the sides of the entrance door of this mosque, two platforms have been designed.
The main door that has been engraved and decorated, has 180 years. In it were employed 6666 nails equal to the number of verses of the Koran. Two verses of a poem by Sa'di were also written on the two door handles. An epigraph was placed above it.
The entrance is octagonal in shape and ends in the central courtyard with two covered and wide corridors. At the center of each corridor there is a courtyard. The central square-shaped one has been built roughly in the north-south direction, its floor is covered in bricks and has a polygonal tub in the middle and also four little gardens.
The rooms of the madrasah were built of the height of a staircase higher than the level of the lower courtyard. Twelve rooms through four side corridors lead to the courtyard and each has a closet. The side facing the courtyard of the rooms is clad with a brick lattice.
Four stone steps on the four sides of the courtyard, joining the lower one to the upper one and another staircase in the middle of the north wing gives access to the cellar. The latter, through horizontal and vertical aerators, brings the air to two ventilation towers in two sections of the shabestān (colonnaded prayer hall) located to the north and thus ventilates it.
This mosque has three shabestān with perimeter corridors, a brick dome and two goldasteh (open space placed at the height of the minaret) tiled and a row of spiral staircases revolves around the colonnaded axis in the center and inside the goldashteh connecting the roof of the mosque to the terminal part of these. The dome was built on eight large bases and is three-layer. The perimeter of the widest circle of the dome is 50 meters and the height of the top from the roof of the mosque is about 18 meters.
A chain was tied to the top of this dome and moving shoveled the snow laid on the outer space and threw it into the courtyard, designed for this purpose. Here was a well where the snow was finally thrown.
Around the mihrāb (niche on the wall of the prayer hall's qibla and indicating the direction of Mecca) of this mosque there is an epigraph in cement. Above the mihrāb a channel has also been created for a greater acoustic resonance of the voice of one who leads the prayer.
In the winter residence of this mosque marble stones have been used which illuminate the lower rooms with the movement of light. The decorations of this mosque and the madrasa consist of stuccos, paintings, woodwork, muqarnas, tiles etc.
The inscribed epigraphs are the work of great calligraphy masters of Kāshān as Mohammad Ebrāhim Moārefi, Mohammad Hossein Adib and Seyed Sādegh Kāshāni and also the paintings were performed by Mohammad Bāgher Ghamsari. On the left side in the direction of the entrance door of the main courtyard, there is the Narāghi family mausoleum.