The Gunbad-i Qabus: the superlative beauty of a tomb tower

the Gumbad-i-Kabus ranks with the great buildings of the world Finally! On the 24th of April 1934, Robert Byron finally visits the Gunbad-i Qabus, in Gurgan. Why do I say finally? Right before having the chance to visit the tomb tower of Gurgan, on the 23rd of April 1934, Byron explains that “[i]t was Diez’s…

Mullah Hassan-i Kashan Shrine and square Kufic

is remarkable for a domed stalactite ceiling It is the 12th April 1934 and Byron’s just paid a visit to the tomb tower of Chelabi Oghlu. After that, he reports his visit to the Shrine of Mullah Hassan-i Kashan. What Byron writes about it is only that the most interesting feature of this monument is the…

The simple tomb-tower of Chelebi Oghlu

an octagonal tomb-tower of the thirteenth century When Robert Byron is back to Sultaniyya, on the 12th April 1934, he does not only remember the first time he saw the Tomb of Uljaytu (that does not disappoint him, not even now that has visited many monuments), but visits other monuments, one of which is the…

The inscriptions of the Friday Mosque of Na’in in context

one of the oldest in Persia Byron, after having been in Yazd, on his way back to Isfahan stops in Na’in and Ardestan, in both cities he visits the Friday mosques. He records both his visits under the entry dated 31st March 1934. The first Friday Mosque he describes is the one in Na’in: “I…

The tombstone for Anna: the symbol of a Medieval melting pot

Medieval Sicily has always fascinated me. Not long ago I wrote the review for a short web series, Indictus, that loosely tells the story of the Norman conquest of Islamic Sicily. After the review was published, I got in touch with the director and the screenwriter and we started working on a small project (in Italian) whose…

Nur al-Din Ni’matullah Vali Shrine and its poetics

a sudden reprieve, a blessing of water and rustle of leaves The passage Robert Byron writes on the Nur al-Din Ni’matullah Vali Shrine is among the most poetic section of his travelogue. The entry is dated 25th of March 1934, and the writer, here, describes the night between the 24th and the 25th of March. The…

The chinoiserie of the Ganj-i Ali Khan Complex

an ugly building, and not so old, but retaining patches of mosaic It is the 24th of March 1934, and Byron is still in Kerman, wandering around and looking for monuments. When writing about the city of Kerman, Robert Byron underlines how he found two noteworthy objects: the first is the mihrab of the Friday Mosque…