The Maidan-i Imam from Byron’s window

There was time to drive round Isfahan before dark A couple of days after Byron is in Qom and describes hurriedly the Shrine of Fatima, he arrives in Isfahan. It is, according to the travelogue, the 11th of February 1934. He and the two people that were traveling with him, or better, that gave him…

A shrine as the center of the city: Mashhad-i Fatima

a good group with its tall gold dome and four blue minarets Robert Byron stayed in Teheran for a while before going towards Isfahan. After he visited the monuments of Bastam, next to Tehran, he did not visit any other monument, and we do not know the exact reason for this. After he had visited…

The Gundab-i Bastam: finding inaccuracies in a description

The brickwork has a fine texture Sometimes it is clearly visible from Byron’s writing, that The Road to Oxiana is not a travelogue compiled during the journey. This is the case with the entry dated 9th of January 1934. Under that date, Byron reports his visit to two monuments of Bastam: the Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami, and a…

Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami: the work of a family

its towers like Kentish oast-houses After having spent in Mashhad the days around Christmas, on the entry dated 9th of January 1934, we find Byron further West: in Bastam. There, the first monument Byron encounters and notes down in his travelogue is the Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami. January 1934 corresponds to the month of Ramadan. In…

The Musalla of Mashhad and inscription authorship.

a ruined arch In the entry dated 24th of December 1933 Byron mentions a number of monuments of Mashhad, that he missed during his first visit to the city: the Imamzada Khvajah Rabi’, the Masjid-i Shah, and the Musalla of the city. It is not the first time Byron mentions a musalla: roughly one month before,…

The Masjid-i Shah of Mashhad: a fairly atypical mosque

“a ruined mosque in the bazaar“ When Byron is in Mashhad in December 1933, it seems that his whole days are spent at the small and peaceful shrine of Khvajah Rabi’, as he himself writes under the entry dated 24th December 1933. In fact, he also visited another monument in those days: the Masjid-i Shah….

Waiting for 2018: the books of the future

At the end of the year, I like looking back at what I missed (and should not have), but also checking what to expect next. This is why I’ve decided to devote a post to the forthcoming publications about Islamic art and architecture that will be published in 2018, or at least in the first months…

2017: the books you shouldn’t have missed

End of the year: time to look back and see what you have done this 2017. Among the many things, it’s also good to think about the books that have been published and that you should not have missed. And if you have, it’s not a big deal: there is always time to buy a…

The Imamzada of Khvajah Rabi’ by Byron, Yate, and Pope

It suits my mood. After having gone as far East as Herat, Afghanistan, around Christmas 1933 we find Robert Byron once again in Mashhad, where he had already been in the first half of November 1933. Between late November and mid-December 1933, Robert Byron tried to move further East, to Turkestan, but bad weather and…

The Friday Mosque of Herat: photos of changes

For seven centuries the people of Herat have prayed in it. They still do so, and its history is their history. On the 25th of November 1933, after nearly two months into his journey in Iran and Afghanistan, Robert Byron finally visited his first Friday Mosque: the Masjid-i Jami’ of Herat. And it happened apparently…