Isfahan, Iran, is home to the Imam Mosque, which is also known as the Royal Mosque or Shah Mosque. Construction began in 1611, on the order of Abbas I of Persia, and took 18 years to complete. The mosque is considered to be an outstanding example of Islamic era Persian architecture, and along with the Naghsh-e Jahan Square, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. The mosque itself is located on the southern part of the square, which is highly unusual in Iran and surrounding countries for the fact that it does not face Mecca. It is thought that the architect responsible, Shaykh Bahai, wanted to ensure that the mosque could be seen from anywhere in the square, which would not have been possible if it faced Mecca, as the dome would have been hidden from view.

Exploring the Imam Mosque using 3D building models, you can rise up 53 metres to the top of the double-shelled done, which was the tallest in the city when it was built. The distinctive blue on the outside was very typical of the Persian era, and it can be seen across the cry of Isfahan when it reflects the sunlight. Sign up to the newsletter to receive regular discounts and vouchers for free downloads of this and many other 3D building models. (see details)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Imam Mosque, Isfahan

While this Iranian landmark can be seen on the 20,000 rial banknote, a much better way to admire the mosaics and calligraphy adorning it is by immediate download of the 3D building model. Without having to visit Iran, you can explore the impressive structure of the Imam Mosque.

One of the most recognisable features of any mosque is its minaret. This particular mosque, however, has not one minaret, but four. Unusually for today, but entirely typical of Persian times, none of these four minarets is used for the traditional call to prayer. On the western side of the building, an aedicule (or goldast, in the original Persian) was built in order to serve this purpose.

Inside the mosque are extremely detailed mosaics that cover the entirety of the walls and ceiling. Rather than the earlier method of individually placing tiny pieces of tile to produce the mosaic, which was very slow, a new technique was used in its creation. This meant that larger, more colourful tiles could be used to create designs that were far more intricate. Low humidity in the area ensures that these tiles remain bright even today.