The Square Kufic of the Pir-i Bakran Shrine

After years running this blog, I realized I have not devoted even one single article to a Square Kufic inscription. Which sounds weird, considering the name of this blog. In any case, the time has come. A reader, JJ (I don’t know the full name, thus, let’s call him/her JJ), sent me a couple of…

Rasatkhana: the Observatory of Maragha

the Rasatkhana, which means ‘star-house’ or observatory; but none had ever seen it On the 17th of October 1933, Robert Byron visited the Rasatkhana, or better, the place where the Rasatkhana used to be. His visit was brief, presumably, since nothing of the once famous observatory remains. Apparently, he did not take even one photo….

Gunbad-i ‘Ala al-Din

‘This one […] was tenanted by an opium fiend who looked up from cooking his lunch to tell us that it was his home and 3000 years old.’ On the 10th of October 1933, Byron records in his travel journal three monuments: two tomb towers, and one mosque. The first tomb tower he mentions is…