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…

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,…

Four mihrabs within a mihrab

When I was preparing the article about the Friday Mosque of Shiraz and the Qur’anic inscriptions that are written on its walls, I came across the photo of a quite particular alabaster slab that used to be kept in the mosque. The slab is made of alabaster and its design is that of a two-dimensional mihrab….

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…

Naqsh-i Rustam in Islamic Iran: the construction of an identity

All they ask is attention, and they get it, like a child or Hitler Robert Byron has never shown much interest in pre-Islamic Persian art. Similarly, when he arrived in Naqsh-i Rustam, on the 1st of March 1934, he was not at all impressed by the remains of the Persian civilizations. In his travelogue, he certainly recognizes…

Khatun Mausoleum

The brick is rosy buff, like the hills Byron, on the 17th of February 1934, keeps going around Shiraz and recording “more curious than beautiful” monuments. After the Friday Mosque and the Madrasa-i Khan, he visits the Khatun Mausoleum. As already happened with the Madrasa-i Khan, also the Khatun Mausoleum apparently is hardly taken into…

Madrasa-i Khan: the place (probably) only Byron photographed

ruined, a state which improves its eighteenth-century tilework Byron did not like Shiraz: on the 17th of February 1934, after visiting the Friday Mosque of the city, our dear traveler goes to the Madrasa-i Khan. This monument is “curious rather than important”, as Byron defined Shirazi monuments as a whole in the same entry that…

Friday Mosque of Shiraz and its Qur’anic inscriptions

It is not a happy combination On the 17th of February 1934, Byron visits Shiraz and its monuments. In particular, he records the Friday Mosque of the city, also known as Masjid-i ‘Atiq. As often, Byron is not at all enthusiast of the building, particularly of its decoration. As a whole, Shiraz does not make…

A shrine as the center of the city: Mashhad-i Fatima

a good group with its tall gold dome and four blue minarets Robert Byron stayed in Teheran for a while before going towards Isfahan. After he visited the monuments of Bastam, next to Tehran, he did not visit any other monument, and we do not know the exact reason for this. After he had visited…