An Indian minaret, with a Ghaznavid taste: the Qutb Minar

it becomes Indian and painstaking, and loses its freedom It is quite ironic that the last monument Byron visited in his trip was neither in Afghanistan or in Iran: on the 21st of June 1934 he visits the Qutb Minar and with this, ends the long list of monuments of the Road to Oxiana. The…

A brief visit to the Masjid-i Mawlana of Tayabad

which had a beautiful stucco inscription backed by turquoise glaze In the entry dated 12th May 1934, Byron records that the previous day, thus on the 11th of May 1934, he visited the Mawlana at Taybad. His visit seems quite brief: he was in a hurry since a storm was coming that could stop him…

Persepolis and Robert Byron

Neither has any art. It was not easy for Byron to go and visit Persepolis: in his book, we curiously read about his exchanges with Herzfeld, the German archaeologist who was conducting excavations and research at the site. Herzfeld did not want to grant Byron any permission to visit and more importantly to take photos of…

The Gundab-i Bastam: finding inaccuracies in a description

The brickwork has a fine texture Sometimes it is clearly visible from Byron’s writing, that The Road to Oxiana is not a travelogue compiled during the journey. This is the case with the entry dated 9th of January 1934. Under that date, Byron reports his visit to two monuments of Bastam: the Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami, and a…

Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami: the work of a family

its towers like Kentish oast-houses After having spent in Mashhad the days around Christmas, on the entry dated 9th of January 1934, we find Byron further West: in Bastam. There, the first monument Byron encounters and notes down in his travelogue is the Mashhad-i Bayazid Bastami. January 1934 corresponds to the month of Ramadan. In…

The Minaret of Khusrawgird

So this is the Golden Road. Eight centuries ago, the minaret of Khosrugird watched the traffic as it watches us. “What strikes the researcher, is the very scant information that one can find about the minaret.” This is what I wrote on a post-it while searching the web and the books for more information on…

Tarik Khana Mosque

its round squat pillars recall an English village church of the Norman period The last monument Robert Byron visits in Damghan on the 13th of November 1933 is the Tarik Khana Mosque, that he compares to an English village church. Byron loves comparing Iranian buildings to more familiar architectural forms: it already happened, for instance,…

Gunbad-i Qabud

built of plum-red brick […] transferred as it were from an English kitchen garden to the service of Koranic texts Robert Byron arrives in Maragha on the 16th of October 1933 where he visits and takes pictures of one of the three tombs that are to be found there: the Gundab-i Qabud. Byron himself recognizes the…