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…

Off-topic: an Italian spin-off

I am Italian born and bred, as many of you may know. I have started this blog 4 years ago, in 2014, and since then, everything I have written, both here and on Twitter, have been written in English (with a lot of mistakes, no doubt). I started this blog in English for a couple…

Who knows Khoja Aghacha?

Who St Agacha was I don’t know. After paying a visit to the Shrine of Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa, on the 30th of May 1934, Byron continues his visit of Balkh and goes to a small shrine, the Shrine of Khoja Aghacha, that dates back to late 15th century. Byron is not impressed, not at…

Byron and the Shrine of Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa

An unknown force seems to be squeezing it upwards. It is the 30th of May 1934 when Byron writes in his travelogue that he is in Balkh, where he spent the whole day. In this entry, Byron also describes a monument: the Shrine of a spiritual leader, that died in 1460 c.e.: Khoja Abu Nasr Parsa….

The dream of the Rowze-i Sharif

[it] owes its existence to a dream On the 27th of May 1934 Byron visits and describes the Mausoleum of Hazrat Ali (most commonly called Rowze-i Sharif) in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, and two smaller mausoleums next to it. THE LEGEND The passage Byron dedicates to the Mausoleum opens with a historical account of how it was…

Mullah Hassan-i Kashan Shrine and square Kufic

is remarkable for a domed stalactite ceiling It is the 12th April 1934 and Byron’s just paid a visit to the tomb tower of Chelabi Oghlu. After that, he reports his visit to the Shrine of Mullah Hassan-i Kashan. What Byron writes about it is only that the most interesting feature of this monument is the…

The simple tomb-tower of Chelebi Oghlu

an octagonal tomb-tower of the thirteenth century When Robert Byron is back to Sultaniyya, on the 12th April 1934, he does not only remember the first time he saw the Tomb of Uljaytu (that does not disappoint him, not even now that has visited many monuments), but visits other monuments, one of which is the…

The mihrab of the Friday Mosque of Kerman

I found only two objects of note. One was the mihrab-panel in the Friday Mosque Byron, on the 24th of March 1934, is in Kerman. There, he visited also the Jabal-i Sang. In his travelogue, he gives just a short mention of the Friday Mosque of the city, yet, in this short passage, Byron underlines…

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….

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…