A minaret Byron forgot to mention: the minaret of Damghan

… … … It is not clear when Byron actually visited the Minaret of Damghan or anyway when he took the photos of the minaret. Most probably he visited this minaret while visiting the Tarikh Khana, the Gunbad-i Chihil Dukhtaran and the Pir-i Alamdar (all recorded in his travelogue on the date of 13th of…

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 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,…

Actual visit or narrative device: Byron at the Qal’a Ikhtiyar al-Din

It was interesting to discover, from personal experience, how spies find their vocation “Herat citadel has a long and stormy story”, Nancy Hatch Dupree wrote in 1977 in her Historical Guide to Afghanistan. And in fact, the story of the Qal’a Ikhtiyar al-Din is strictly connected with the turbulent history of Herat itself. Alexander the Great…

The Minaret of Semnan

I heard of an old minaret, which I found before the police found me. We cannot say that Robert Byron visited the Friday Mosque of Semnan. It is more correct to say that he passed by and took a photo, at least as long as we trust what’s written in his travelogue. Also, he does not…