Kanisa-yi Mulla David
Isfahan, Iran
This synagogue is located across the street from the mausoleum of Kamal al-Din Isma‘il Isfahani, a well-known Persian poet (1172-1237 CE). According to a stucco inscription in the prayer hall, the building was constructed in 1865. The building was a waqf building owned by the Jewish community of Isfahan.

Its design is different from other synagogues in Isfahan, in the sense that it includes a central courtyard, accessed by a bent corridor that leads from the main entrance on the building's southwest side. The old trees in the courtyard reveal the age of the synagogue and there is a nice stone fountain in the center. The courtyard and adjacent rooms of the synagogue sit below street level.

The eastern side of the courtyard opens onto rooms to hold religious classes for children; however, these spaces are not in use anymore. Like the other synagogues, the prayer-hall is located on the western side. A corridor connects the main courtyard to the entrance to the prayer hall. The hall has a central domed by with a skylight. The sitting areas are on the southern and northern sides of the prayer hall while the women’s area is a half-story on the northern side. There are brick screens (mushabbak) that provide views for women to the prayer-hall. The light comes from the southern side and there are two small windows on the eastern and western walls that provide nice light for the bema. 

This synagogue is very well decorated: the ceiling is filled with motifs common in Islamic art, and there are wall paintings in which gold has been used. The names of the four founders of the synagogue appear on the main central arch. 

The building is still being used as a religious space and does not seem to have been renovated recently.

-- Mohammad Gharipour (September, 2017)
Isfahan, Iran
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Variant Names
كنيساى ملا داود
Kanisa-ye Molla Daved
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