Imamzadah Isma'il
Isfahan, Iran
This venerated complex of buildings and a courtyard much like the Darb-i-Imam shrine of Isfahan represents different construction styles from Seljuq till late Safavid rule in the Yazdi quarter of the city. The complex largely consists of a Seljuq Shaya or Isaiah mosque and minaret, a Safavid period shrine to Ismail (the grandson of the second Imam Hasan) and an uncovered crossroad (chahrsuq). The shrine also has a namesake like many other religious shrines of Isfahan, to the son of Imam Zain ul Abadin in Mashhad in northeastern Iran.

The undated Isaiah mosque, with characteristic Seljuq brick dome and decorative tile work, is the oldest structure within the complex, to which Safavid ruler Shah Abbas later added the mausoleum of the Imamzada (a descendant of the venerated Imams) Ismail. Expansion continued with imperial patronage for the construction of porches, prayer halls and courtyards till 1632 under Safavid ruler Shah Safi, though repairs continued under Safavid ruler Shah Husain in 1702-3 followed by Haj Muhammad Ibrahim Beg Yuz Bashi in 1703-4. The shrine's aristocratic patrons often maintained a presence after death by being buried in the vicinity of the sacred place. Zainab un-nisa Khanun, the daughter of the Afsharid ruler, Ismail Shah III was buried here in 1782. The inner sanctuary of the shrine also has an unidentified tomb dated 1637-38, and the tomb of Qazi Safi al-Din Muhammad stands near the western portico.

Today, the shrine also contains a gallery, a portal, a prayer hall, an iwan (a vaulted hall, walled in three sides with one end open) and a beautiful large dome in addition to the mosque, courtyard and the mausoleums of the Imamzada and Isaiah. The shrine is notable for its decorative tile works, stucco ornaments, historic Safavid inscriptions, and an intricately adorned tile tablet.


Blake, Stephen. Half the World: The Social Architecture of Safavid Isfahan, 1590-1722. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1999. 171.

Lockhardt, Laurence. Famous cities of Iran. Middlesex: Walter Pearce & Company, 1939. 18.


Yazdi quarter, Isfahan, Iran
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Associated Names
Begun late 16th-early 17th c./early 11th c. AH by 'Abbas. Completed in 1631-32/1040-41 AH. Repaired in 1702-03/1114-15 AH, 1703-04/1115-16 AH (overall complex was begun in Seljuk period).
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Variant Names
Imamzada Ismail
Imamzadeh Isma'il
Alternate transliteration
Building Usages