Friday, April 17, 2015
It is another historical house in the old quarter of Shiraz. This has used to be the house of Zinatol Molok, daughter of an eminent governor of the city.
Built during the Qajar dynasty, Zinatol Molok House is a beautiful Persian house with abundant rooms on sides and a garden in the middle. Meanwhile, the house enjoys lots of colorful decorations on the façade and inside.
Today, beside the historical importance and architectural beauty of the house, it is home to a museum known as the Madame Tussauds Museum of Iran.
The museum displays key figures, particularly of the Shiraz history including Cyrus the Great, King Darius I, King Aqa Mohammad Khan, Mansur Hallaj, King Karim Khan, Sadi, Empress Atousa, and great musician Barbad.
When someone brings up historical architecture, we picture beautiful arches, towering spires, sculptures and stone walls, but most of us probably don’t think of bright and vibrant colors. Nasir al-Molk Mosque, as illustrated by these photographs, is a striking and strong exception to the idea that historical structures might have been somewhat lacking in colors. Not only are its stained-glass windows richly colored, but its walls feature a beautiful and vibrantly colorful array of painted geometric tiles.
Construction on the mosque was begun in 1876 and completed in 1888 in Shiraz, Iran by the order of Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al Molk, a lord of the Qajar dynasty. The stained glass windows capture the morning light and create a glorious play of light on the floor of the mosque, earning it the name of the “Pink Mosque” and inviting these photographers to capture its beauty. Although some of the tiles that decorate it are rose-colored, it seems like the mosque includes almost every color under the sun.
The mosque features many elements of traditional Islamic architecture like iwan arches and a central fountain for ablutions, but stained-glass windows are relatively rare. Only a few other mosques, like the Masjid al-Aqsa and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, feature stained-glass windows.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Iran, Burnt City is one of the most important prehistoric sites of the country which was well developed during the third millennium BCE.
Spreading over a 300,000 hectare area, Burnt City is recognized as mainland-Iran’s largest prehistoric site. The city experienced four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times, which is why it was named ‘Burnt City.’ Discovery of hundreds of historical sites including 166 satellite villages together with large numbers of archaeological relics, skeletons, and ancient structures in the archaeological site of Burnt City makes it holder of an unparalleled record in the history of archaeological activities in Iran.
Judging by the artifacts recovered in the area, the inhabitants seem to have been a race of intelligent people who were both farmers & builders of various crafts. So far no military ware has been discovered, suggesting the peaceful nature of the residents. What is really strange about burnt city is the fact that it has no connection to any other old civilizations in the area, as if it completely came from elsewhere.One of the prominent relics found in the Burned City is a skull that according to the anthropological studies is the first evidence of brain surgeries in prehistoric Iran. Recent archaeological studies, has led into new discoveries in the architectural style of this city’s buildings as well as finding the biggest pre- historic clothe collection in the Middle East
Even more recently, Burnt City has been identified as one of the rarest ancient cities in which women were in charge of their family’s financial affairs!
Before the Burnt City, some 137 historical hills had been identified by this Center in the vicinity of Burnt City historical site. Archeologists believed that most probably these hills were settled by the Burnt City inhabitants during the ancient times. The discovered historical sites are located 6-8 kilometers from the Burnt City and some cultural evidence such as broken clays similar to those discovered in Burnt City have been unearthed in these hills.
Archeologists have also found a well-preserved building in the residential area, covering around 80 square hectares of the total 151 square hectares of the ancient city.
Toward the end of the second millennium BC, Burnt City came to a cultural standstill; and archeological evidence shows that this ancient civilization of the Eastern plateau of Iran somehow vanished from the face of the earth at the beginning of the first millennium BC.
Last year there was the rather striking discovery out of Tehran of a 5000 year old "animation" of a goat found on an earthenware bowl. Like many, I found this fascinating and recently wanted to take a closer look at the actual sequence to see what its structure looked like. This ended up becoming a bit of an internet treasure hunt for me. First, I found the animated clip they had created from it:
But, when I dissected the animation, things really got interesting. It's made of 9 images, yet it features several repeated goat images (watch for the white dot on the goat's behind which appears and disappears). The way this animation was made simply took the overall background (note that the trees never change), then cut and pasted the goat figures several times in different places!
Upon further searching, I found this great page showing the archiving of the bowl, which actually looks like this:
This eyeball belongs to a sturdy woman who was between 25 to 30 years of age at the time of death. Skeletal remains of the woman were found in grave number 6705 of Burnt City’s cemetery. The material this artificial eyeball is made of has not yet been determined.
However, at first glance it seems natural tar mixed with animal fat has been used in making it.” Initial studies on the eyeball also suggest formation of an abscess in the eyelid due to long-term contact with the eyeball. Moreover, remaining eyelid tissues are still evident on this artificial eyeball.Even the most delicate eye capillaries were drawn on this eyeball using golden wires with a thickness measuring less than half a millimeter. There are also some parallel lines around the pupil forming a diamond shape. Two holes are also seen on the sides of this eyeball to hold it in the eye socket. A number of clay vessels, ornamental beads, a leather sack, and a bronze mirror have also been found in the grave of this woman
Friday, July 4, 2014
The Vakil Mosque (Persian: مسجد وکیل - Masjed-e Vakil) is a mosque in Shiraz, southern Iran, situated to the west of the Vakil Bazaar next to its entrance. This mosque was built between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand period; however, it was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period. Vakil means regent, which was the title used by Karim Khan, the founder of Zand Dynasty. Shiraz was the seat of Karim Khan’s government and he endowed many buildings, including this mosque.
Vakil Mosque covers an area of 8,660 square meters. It has only two iwans instead of the usual four, on the northern and southern sides of a large open court. The iwans and court are decorated with typical Shirazi haft rangi tiles, a characteristic feature of the art and industry of Shiraz during the latter half of the 18th century. Its night prayer hall (Shabestan), with an area of approximately 2,700 square meters, contains 48 monolithic pillars carved in spirals, each with a capital of acanthus leaves. The minbar in this hall is cut from a solid piece of green marble with a flight of 14 steps and is considered to be one of the master pieces of the Zand period. The exuberant floral decorative tiles largely date from the Qajar period.
Vakil Bath is an old public bath in Shiraz, Iran. It was a part of the royal district constructed during Karim Khan Zand's reign, which includes Arg of Karim Khan, Vakil Bazaar, Vakil Mosque and many administrative buildings.
The building served as both a fort, and residence for its builder. Some of the residential rooms have been restored (and in some cases populated by slightly tacky dioramas)
The interior courtyard is filled with shady citrus trees, providing relief form the heat. The smell of orange blossoms pervades the courtyard in springtime. The park benches provide some privacy for couples to meet.