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After burning photos and changing money I made for Emam Khomeini square again. Blessed with perfect clear skies again, it was a natural drawcard. The Emam Mosque lay silent with not so much as a ticket collector to be seen, I had the largest mosque in Iran virtually all to myself. The entrance portico had been built at one end of the square but with the mosque offset so that it might face Mecca. The blue dome was fantastic and inside there were grand archways to all sides and on a massive scale, a masterpiece of Islamic art. Imagine how I felt then when later I went to see the nearby Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and though smaller, found it to be even more exquisite. The Mihrab style entrance adorned with stalactitic appendages and extremely intricate and complex mosaics had to be unsurpassable. It was unusual in several ways in that it had an elevated entrance with stairs, the unfamiliar and superb entrance passageway zigzagged into the main chamber, and its dome was offset and unusually coloured in a creamy pink glaze. Inside it was trully breathtaking, such tremendous artistry and scale, and perhaps the most harmonious dome I have seen. It seemed to flow down seemlessly in perfect lines to merge with the supporting walls almost indiscernibly. It didnt, indeed couldnt, get any better than this.

In trying to follow one of the recommended walking routes in the guidebook, I had gone out in search of other treasures such as the Madrase-ye Sadr. Others were more elusive but in compensation I found another couple of mosques unintentionally, most notably the Ali Mosque with a smaller but perfect ornate blue dome and a single massive minaret which could have been mistaken for a factory chimney had it not had a stepped verandah in it and some geometric blue styling. I had stumbled upon quite possibly the tallest building in the city, and its largely plain brick reminded me of the Choly Minaret in Arbil. Back to the main square to try and catch some snaps before the sun died, it was unfortunate that the main edifices were pretty much North facing and so were always shadowed in the main. My duty more or less done for the day, I headed back to the river where the thing to do was visit one of the teahouses under the bridge and watch the sun go down over the water with a chayi and qalyan for company. There was still important business of sorts to attend to though, some passport photos were harder to bag than expected and after managing to track down chicken and rice for a change too, it was internet and "Near Beer" before bedtime.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Iran

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