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…

The mihrab of the Friday Mosque of Kerman

I found only two objects of note. One was the mihrab-panel in the Friday Mosque Byron, on the 24th of March 1934, is in Kerman. There, he visited also the Jabal-i Sang. In his travelogue, he gives just a short mention of the Friday Mosque of the city, yet, in this short passage, Byron underlines…

The Jabal-i Sang and its lack of decoration

interesting because it is built of stone instead of brick It is the 24th of March 1934 when Byron visits a quite peculiar monument, located nearby Kerman. It is the Jabal-i Sang. As Byron writes in his travelogue, the most interesting feature of this monument is the material used for its construction: stone. “a domed…

The Shrine of the Twelve Imams

The Shrine of the Twelve Imams, for example, has a frieze of Kufic On the 20th of March 1934, Robert Byron visited, together with the Friday Mosque of Yazd and the Vaqt-i Sa’at, the Shrine of the Twelve Imams, located in the same city. Byron’s mention of the monument is very brief: “The Shrine of the…

The hidden decoration of the Vaqt-i Sa’at

The most elaborate of them Robert Byron is impressed by the beauty of the monuments of Yazd. In the entry dated 20th March 1934 of his travelogue, he writes down how unexpected it was for him to encounter such beauty. An extraordinary series of simple, egg-domed mausoleums now lured us across the town—extraordinary in that, being…

The Friday Mosque of Yazd and its decoration

clue after clue yielded treasure It is the 20th of March 1934 when Byron arrives at Yazd. As he recounts in his travelogue, the very same day he reaches the city, he sets off to look for monuments. And the monument that intrigued him the most in the city is the Friday Mosque. In his…

Analysing a foundation inscription: the Luftallah Mosque

no idea that abstract pattern was capable of so profound a splendour “The Shaykh Luftallah mosque is viewed by historians and visitors as one of the most important architectural projects built on Isfahan’s maidan, prominent for its location, scale, design, and ornament”. This is how the long entry Archnet devotes to the Luftallah mosque ends….

Masjid-i Imam and its seven-color technique

pretty, if you like, even magnificent, but not important In mid-March 1934 Byron is back in Isfahan. This time he has certainly more time to go around and carefully visit the most important monuments of the city. It is now, for instance, that he visits properly the Friday Mosque. On the 18th of March 1934,…