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…

The Masjid-i Shah of Mashhad: a fairly atypical mosque

“a ruined mosque in the bazaar“ When Byron is in Mashhad in December 1933, it seems that his whole days are spent at the small and peaceful shrine of Khvajah Rabi’, as he himself writes under the entry dated 24th December 1933. In fact, he also visited another monument in those days: the Masjid-i Shah….

The Friday Mosque of Herat: photos of changes

For seven centuries the people of Herat have prayed in it. They still do so, and its history is their history. On the 25th of November 1933, after nearly two months into his journey in Iran and Afghanistan, Robert Byron finally visited his first Friday Mosque: the Masjid-i Jami’ of Herat. And it happened apparently…

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…

The Dome of the Rock – reading its iconographic project

The Dome of the Rock was built in 72 a.h. (691-2 A.D.) and, besides being the most ancient Islamic building survived till our days, it is, most probably, the first monument to have been built by the new rulers of the Near East. Its building followed a highly uneasy period: during the ten years that…

Minaret of Jam: what it is and why it is important

On Aug 28th, 2014 BBC published an article about the minaret of Jam, Afghanistan, which is “in danger to collapse”. The news spread throughout Twitter, drawing more attention on the fact. The minaret’s importance was first recognized by UNESCO in 1982, that nominated it World Heritage Site. Then, in 2002, it was listed under the…