Thursday, May 3, 2018

Iran's Beautiful Mosques

I went to Iran with no expectations, as I went to some cities during my short stay, I visited some mosques and found them beautiful. These are more than just places of worship, walking into one provides a glimpse of the country's storied past, culture and daily life.


Here are the beautiful mosques I went to during my trip.

Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque


Tehran is a busy city with all the pros and cons that come with it. I had the chance to explore this bustling metropolis and visited the Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque. Located in Tajrish, it plays an important role in the lives of locals.



It is one of many Imamzadeh mosques in the country. It isn't just a place of worship, to me it also came off as an art gallery. The mix of blues, inscriptions and tile work were sights to behold. It displayed Islamic art beautifully.





The elaborate design of the ceilings were something, I can't help but keep looking up at them. After a visit to this mosque, the beauty of those I saw in subsequent places became a recurring theme.

Entrance Fee: Free

Vakil Mosque

During my trip around Shiraz, I found a handful of mosques that were both beautiful and had historical value; one of which was Vakil Mosque.




Vakil Mosque displays the artistic influences of the 18th century during the Zand era. The pillars inside the hall and the minbar are its prominent and famous features.



The tile work on the ceiling and walls are beautiful as well.

Entrance Fee: Iranian Rial (IRR) 150,000

Shah-e Cheragh Mosque


This is a mosque and funerary monument for important figures in Islam, it is also a pilgrimage site. Its name translates into "King of the Light" because of the nature of how Ayatullah Dastghā'ib discovered it centuries ago.




The mosque isn't just a piece of history, it is a very vibrant and 'local' place. Visitors and those that live in Shiraz alike go to this destination to worship and pray. I saw so many people during my visit, families, couples, young adults, group of friends and children.


The buildings were also remarkable, with their mix of colors, intricate tile work, layout and the design of the walls and ceilings.




The interior of the mosque is just as beautiful as its exterior. The glass covered walls dazzled with different colored lights.






The locals also welcomed non-Muslims to enter their place of worship.

Entrance Fee: Free

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque


Also known as the Pink Mosque, this destination is another display of Islamic and Persian art. Its colorful stained glass windows and the Panj Kāse or 'five concave' design are its most striking characteristics.



On a clear day the pool reflects the facade of the mosque. Built during the Qajar epoch from 1876-1888. it is a popular tourist destination from both local and foreign visitors.


We went early to avoid the crowds and see the famous reflections of the colorful stained glass windows on the carpet, but it was short-lived, because the a lot of people had the same idea. We made the most of the situation, even if it was only for a few minutes. For a while the mosque was serene as it should be, but as more and more people arrived, the noise ruined the atmosphere.


Other than the stained glass windows, the elaborate and intricate designs of the ceiling were also noteworthy.

See those people?


The exterior of the mosque is just as impressive as the interior, you'll see the display of colors and intricacy of the designs.

Entrance Fee: IRR200,000

Jame Mosque (Yazd)


I was in Yazd for a couple of days, and one of the places I visited was the Jame Mosque, which was a part of the old town. This huge mosque is a place where locals gather and tourists learn more about.



This mosque is centuries old, dating back to the 12th century. It has underwent reconstruction and maintenance between 1324 and 1365. It follows the Azari style of Persian design. A prominent part of the Jame Mosque is its towering minarets. The tile work and distinctly blue color of the facade are eye catching.





The interior is equally impressive as the exterior. The mix of blue and other colors, details and ceiling artwork is stunning.

The courtyard of the mosque

Entrance Fee: IRR80,000

Jameh Mosque (Esfahan)


This mosque is a UNESCO Heritage Site in Esfahan City; it is also one of the oldest mosques in the country. The complex is a display of different styles throughout its existence. As I was exploring it, I did see differences in the design of the buildings.



The iwans in the south, east, west and north were impressive structures; their colors, inscriptions, tile work and details were beautiful.







I could sense the history of the place as I went from building to building. I could see the oldness of each section and the changes that took place during the centuries.



The ceilings and domes were also quite impressive. Exploring the Jame Mosque was like reading a history book. I would recommend this as the mosque to visit, if you had to choose one while in Esfahan.

Entrance Fee: IRR200,000

Shah Mosque (Esfahan)


The Shah Mosque or also known as the Imam Mosque is one of the prominent buildings in the UNESCO Heritage-listed Naghsh-e Jahan Square. You'll easily see it once you enter the latter; its distinctly bluish facade and minarets are hard to miss.



The mosque is a showcase of Persian art and creativity. You'll see the intricate tile work, exquisite details and mix of blues of the exterior and interior.




The ceilings and domes of the mosque are spectacular works of art. One of the aims of the architects was to elicit a feeling of heavenly transcendence when they look up, which I think they achieved with the detail of the design.


The Safavids built the mosque to display their ingenuity and creativity in architecture.

Entrance Fee: IRR200,000

The mosques I've been to in Iran have historical and cultural value, and are not just tourist attractions. They are also important places of worship and are displays of Persian and Islamic art. There are plenty of other mosques in the country that i have yet to visit, but would love to in the future.



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