What remains of the Madrasa of Gawhar Shad

The origin of this baffles me. On the 23rd of November 1933, while visiting the Musalla Complex and its monuments, we can imagine Robert Byron lingering a while in front of a solitary minaret. In his own travelogue, he records that he was quite perplexed. He then wrote: “Next, on the east of the mausoleum, stands…

Gawhar Shad Mausoleum and its missing tombstones

Few architectural devices can equal a ribbed dome for blind, monumental ostentation. During his visit to the Musalla Complex in Herat, on the 23rd of November 1933, Robert Byron carefully recorded what remained of the monuments that once were part of the magnificent project, commissioned by Gawhar Shad. The construction of her mausoleum was completed in…

Gawhar Shad Mosque in Herat: what remains

there was never such a mosque before or since Byron saw what remained of the Gawhar Shad Mosque on the 23rd of November 1933, together with the other monuments part of what is called Musalla Complex. During his visit, anyway, Byron seems not to give much attention to the mosque. He refers to it maybe when…

The sad story of the Musalla Complex: art crime and destruction

It is a miserable story It is difficult to define the Musalla Complex in Herat. The name ‘Musalla’ can refer both to the whole complex and to the Mosque of Gawhar Shad that is part of it. Even Robert Byron is apparently confused, and use the word to describe first one and then the other. Musalla…

Gawhar Shad Mosque

Even from a quarter of a mile away I could see the difference in quality of its colour from that of the other courts The Mosque of Gawhar Shad is one of the monuments that will accompany Byron throughout his whole journey in Iran and Afghanistan. It is part of the Shrine of Imam Reza…