For the ones who like to have an insight into the culture and architecture of beautiful wonders made by mankind, Shah Cheragh is the spot for you. An actual mosque of mirrors located in Shiraz, Iran is worth a visit and will leave you with a memorable experience. A must-visit place, the funerary monument looks quite simple and ordinary on the outside but it’s the interiors that leave you with jaw-dropping sights.
The 900-year-old Shah Cheragh shrine has its interiors entirely decorated with millions of pieces of mirror glass and tiles along with stained glass which reflects light from all directions giving you the vibe of stepping into wonderland. The captivating mosque of mirrors is home to two shrines namely that of Ahmad bin Musa and Muhammad bin Musa and is said against a backdrop of a legend that dates back to 900 A.D. that makes it an important place of pilgrimage in the city.
THE LEGEND AND EXPANSION
As per the legend, an ayatollah or a religious leader who happened to be traveling near the city of Shiraz saw a green colored light emitting from the ground. Eventually, the source turned to be a grave and upon excavation, a body wearing armor was found. Later, through further findings, it was revealed that the burial site was that of the son of Mūsā al-Kādhim. And eventually, a shrine was built over it.
Over centuries Shah Cheragh was expanded and a few religious schools and facilities were included within it. Later in the 14th century, Queen Tash Khatun who was the mother of the last rule of the Injuid Dynasty – Shah Abu Ishaq Inju, commissioned a project on a mosque. She carried out essential repairs in the mosque and further expanded the facilities. She wished the mosque to intensify light in the name of the King Shah Cheragh translate ‘King of The Light’ in Persian.
DAMAGE AND REPAIR
Shah Cheragh, over the course of time, has undergone damage just like every other monument at the hands of both humans and nature. The mosque underwent regular repairs, once in 1588 after half of the structure had collapsed to the ground owing to an earthquake. Frequent repairs were carried out during the 19th century after facing numerous earthquakes.
Finally, in 1958 the entire dome was replaced by an iron structure that was expected to last longer by the late Nasirol’molk since the original dome had cracks all over it. Presently, the building comprises of the original portico and its ten columns (eastern side), a spacious sanctuary, a mosque (on the western side of the sanctuary), and various rooms. The are several other tombs adjoining the Mausoleum.
ORNAMENTATION THAT MAKES IT FAMOUS
The interiors of the mosque are unlike any other with mirrors and glass pieces covering not only the ceiling but even the walls. The dome is said to be studded with tiles that have fine crafting and walls have inlaid pieces of glass that occasionally mixed with tiles of red, yellow, blue, and green color. The ornamentation done with mosaic work, inscriptions in stucco, and the doors that adorn a cover of silver panels stand to be the most attractive. The decorative work of the portico and the wide courtyard are also worth seeing.
The large windows of the mosque are made with stained glass mosaics which allow sunlight to enter into the interiors of the mosque and flooding it with light. The mirror glass and tiles tend to scatter the sunlight in all directions making the insides of the mosque the ‘king of light’ justifying the name that has been given to it. With such beauty and decorative work, this mosque is for sure a mosque of mirrors.
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