Restoration experts and heritage preservation activists rushed to the social media to criticize local authorities for not caring enough for the architectural masterpiece which was built some 400 years ago during the Safavid Empire, Presstv Reported.
The images were taken by a photographer working for ISNA, the semi-official news agency which had previously covered local discontent about restoration work at the mosque.
Authorities at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts (MCTH) initially dismissed the pictures as tampered with but later admitted that there should have been a fault during restoration.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, located inside the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a site registered by the United Nations as part of the world heritage, is especially known and revered for its dome, a 32-meter structure on the exterior side which is covered with tiles and bricks.
Any damage to the texture of the dome could affect its shining interior which a British traveler once described as the finest “example of the Persian Islamic genius”.
Authorities said they would carefully study the case to come up with a reason why the surface of the dome had resisted moisture and let the snow fall down.
Experts said the repair workers could have used hydrated construction materials that contained polymer substances. Others said cracks on the dome that have been caused by previous restoration work could be to blame.