Discovering Shiraz Nasir al-Mulk Mosque and Chasing Lights and Shadows in a Kaleidoscopic Journey
Shiraz is the city of poets and nightingales, enough to make it alluring and attract tourists. Its architecture reveals the love for nature and romance. Just like the sophisticated decorations of Nasir al-Mulk mosque shows us.
Colourful, filled with flowers and blessed with a mild climate, Shiraz captured me from minute one.
Visiting Nasir al-Molk, the Pink Mosque of Shiraz
One of the most famous Qajar-era mosques, a stop in this worship place is a spellbinding experience that can’t be missed when visiting Shiraz.
The mosque was built between 1876 and 1888 by the commission of Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al Molk. The elegant design was a project of Muhammad Hasan-e-Memar and Muhammad Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi.
READ MORE: Planning a trip to Iran? Check out our complete guide on the best places to visit in Iran in 10 days for first-timers.
The Stunning Architecture of the Pink Mosque of Iran
The beauty of this mosque is mesmerizing, and I could barely stop taking pictures of both its exterior and interior.
The Interior of Shiraz Nasir al-Mulk Mosque
The interior of Shiraz Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is a fascinating interplay of lights, shades and bright hues. This is given by the colourful glass decorations reminiscent of the rose windows used in Catholic churches, especially in Romanesque and Gothic styles. The result never fails to welcome bedazzled visitors.
Going in the morning will feel like stepping into a fairy tale. The light gets in through the stained glass of its large windows making the walls and the handmade Persian carpet romantically glow. Even though of limited size, not only did I spend hours trying to capture every angle, but I went back twice more to seize different lights and reflections.
Inside, the mosque shows rows of finely carved pillars. Arches and ceiling are decorated with sophisticated patterns made of symbols, flowers, pastel colours and Islamic scripts.
The ceiling is not the same everywhere inside the mosque. Some areas feature the pink roses so common in the decorations of the Qajar era and bright hues.
Other parts of the ceiling display sand and blue shades with symbols typical of the desert architecture. Examples of Islamic desert architecture are Yazd Grand Mosque and Natanz Great Mosque.
The exterior of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque
The mosque is not huge, and from outside it might look like an ordinary worship place. This changes the moment you step in the courtyard before entering the mosque itself. The sophisticated decorations of flowers and abstract symbols recurrent also in earlier mosques make it an unforgettable stop in Shiraz.
Nasir al Molk mosque is most famous for its interior and the light reflections we can enjoy in the morning, but the courtyard is by no means to be dismissed.
It features wonderful patterns of Qajar art style, such as the sophisticated decorations made of stylized flowers, Arabic scripts and thousands of pastel-coloured and rose-hued tiles that earned it the moniker of Pink Mosque.
The love for Europe of the Qajar family is visible in the decoration of the courtyard. Pay attention and you will see small tiles depicting Christian churches from France.
The external ceiling is amazing. The decorations are so small and detailed that always bear a mesmerising effect, showing the talent of the old Iranian artists and craftsmen.
Symbols, flowers, geometrical shapes, Arabic scripts are all perfectly arranged to deliver a stunning effect.
Useful Tips to Enjoy Your Visit to Nasir al-Mulk Mosque
Go in the morning
This is really the first tip I can give. Nasir ul-Molk mosque was built with the purpose to catch the morning sun. This is why entering early morning, as soon as it opens, is the best way to enjoy everything its architecture has to offer.
Going after noon you will obviously see the wonderful decoration both inside and outside, but the sun light won’t be seeping through the stained glass windows anymore so there won’t be any reflection on the walls and carpet.
Take your camera
Be it your smartphone or your professional DSLR, I assure you, you don’t want to forget your camera when you visit Nasir al-Mulk mosque. Lights, shadows, reflections and bright colours are what made this mosque famous among tourists and for a good reason. So don’t forget to snap your best shots to show your friends and family back home.
READ MORE: Check out our guide to the best cameras for travelling.
Cut out enough time
The mosque is filled with symbols, decorative patterns, colours and reflections that really once you’re in, you won’t want to rush it. Take your time, maybe shorten the visit to some other places. Especially if you are a photography or architecture fan, keep in mind that the place requires full attention.
Just like everywhere in Iran, you need to follow the Islamic dress code, but here, I suggest wearing comfortable clothes. Why? Because you will very likely assume the weirdest positions to try to catch the best possible lights and shadows entering the windows.
Address: Loft Ali Khan Zand St.
Opening hours: Daily 8-11.30 am 2.30-5 pm.
Entrance fee: 150.000 rials (15.000 tomans).
Dress code: Islamic, headscarf.
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