Nasir al Mulk Mosque is a magnificent mosque in Iran. It is renowned by different names in the world most commonly called “Pink mosque”. Alternatively known as Rainbow mosque, Colors Mosque, Rose mosque, and kaleidoscope mosque. The mosque is situated in shiraz, the most populous city in Iran. It is considered as the greatest mosque in Iran.
Fig.1 The Nasir Ul Mulk Mosque
The rays of sun spark life into the mosque. The mosque shines with different colors like the dewdrop sprinkle with a ray of sun. This is considered as the place of blending colors with spirituality. The ray of the sun fills every part of a mosque with glorious shades of colors. The colors reflect on the walls and make them shine like rainbow stars. It has stunning colorful architecture. It is called a pink mosque due to the use of incredible pink tiles on its walls.
The colorful mosque was constructed during the Qajar dynasty. The Qajar dynasty began when a family of Qajar took control of Iran in 1794. The construction of the mosque was started by the order of Qajar ruler Hassan Nasir ul Mulk. He was the son of Mirza Ali. The mosque took 12 years for its completion. In 1888 the stunning miracle of colors was completed.
Fig. 2 The inside of the Mosque
The architectural designer of this staggering mosque was the famous Iranian architecture Muhammad Hassan e Memar. Who is also the constructor of impressive Eram Garden? The second architecture was Reza Kashi-Saz-e-Shirazi.
Western influence on Mosque:
With the emergence of the Qajar dynasty, the European culture greatly influenced Iran. The British constructed many schools and colleges in Iran. The European culture was greatly promoted by Qajar ruler Naseer al-Din. He built a college where European technical skills and languages were taught to the natives of Iran. The people of Iran began to depend on European products.
They started to import architectural material from western countries, particularly ceramics. At that time, Persia was known for the production of cultural architectural style tiles. These had been widely used in the fortresses, tombs, and mosques. Under the western influence, many constructive materials of the mosque were imported.
The mosque is surrounded by two buildings one is in its west and the other is in the south. There are two pathways on the sides of the mosque one is in the east and north. The mosque has a total area of 2980 m square. The mosque constructed area consists of 2415m square. The attractive feature o its land is that the shape of the land of the mosque is irregular due to the parallel two buildings and pathways on sides.
The entrance of the mosque()
The entrance is characterized by luxurious tiling and muqarnas. The entrance area is comprised of three parts, the middle part is for entrance and the other two parts on its sides are of asymmetrical shape. The door of the mosque is made of French wood having a width of about 2 m. The rectangular cuttings in the door are fitted with glass. The door of the entrance is white. There is luxurious pink tile work on the two sides of the mosque. Which makes it be called a pink mosque by the local people. Among the designs of tiles accompanied greatly by birds and different flowers. Above the door, there is architectural work like the honeycomb.
Porch (Nasir al Mulk Mosque)
Next to the entrance door, a distinctive porch with hexagon geometry is present. The walls of the porch characterized by the simple type of brickwork. The ceiling of the porch is a blending of both brick and tile work. The ceiling of the entrance has tile work on which different circular shaped flowers are made.
The courtyard is present next to the porch. It is characterized by a rectangular shape. The courtyard is open from the top giving a complete image of the whole structure of the mosque. In the west of the courtyard, the facade is present which has a height of about 8 m. The façade is divided into eight equal chambers with equal arches at the top. The one chamber is for entrance, the other seven are covered with tile and glass work having wooden French doors in their centers.
The doors have work of colored glass. The glass of doors has three primary colors blue, green, red and one secondary color yellow. The ornaments on the upper sides of all doors are similar. Above the entrance porch, there are chambers that are divided into three parts. Each chamber is characterized by a window, which has some work as the doors of the façade.
Fig.6 Chamber on the upper side of porch with three divisions
The other façade is present in the west of the courtyard. This façade is different from others with respect to structure. The eight openings are present in place of doors and form a Cori-door. This façade is located in-depth compared to the eastern. In the center of the courtyard, there is a pool having length higher than the width of the pool. The pool has shiny tiles and fresh flowers on all sides. The pool presents a beautiful reflection of the mosque and blue sky in the water.
Harems of the mosque (“Nasir al Mulk Mosque”)
The mosque consists of two harems. One is located in the west and the other is in the east. Western harem is the largest harem among two. The harem has a different length and width wise openings. Widthwise, it has three openings and lengthwise seven openings. The western haram has total of seven doors with colorful glasswork. The stones that are used in the ceiling of the harem have unique composite cutting. On the walls of the harem, there is brickwork.
The layers of tiles separate the bricks squares on the walls of the harem. The presence of fabulous ornaments on the walls of harem add more to its beauty. In front of the entrance, the wall of kiblah is present. Brightening tile work covers the whole kiblah wall. The light entering the harem through the colorful glass, make feel the person as moving in the world of shining colors. The floor of the harem is accompanied by the blue tile work, and it makes the pillars of the harem as standing in water.
The harem in the east of the mosque is small in area as compared to others. Different divisions in square shapes are made just like other. The main door is made of simple wood with many spherical openings. These cause the light of the sun to enter in the form of small circles. This harem is less decorated in respect of ornaments. The walls have descent brickwork. The architecture of this harem is related to that of the porch. The ceiling of this harem is the blending of stone and brickwork. The stones used in the ceiling are in simple rectangular or spherical shape without complicated cuttings. The area of the courtyard and this harem is almost equal.
The pink mosque is characterized by the two porches, having different sizes. One is located in the north of the mosque and other in the south. The northern porch is larger in area. The porch in the south of the mosque is distinctively small. But it has three chambers build on the top which makes it highest among the whole Nasir al Mulk mosque.
The glass that is stained with different colors is now used in different parts of the world. Particularly in churches and many historical palaces. The idea of glass staining was originally given by the father of chemistry Jabar Bin Hayan. The windows used in the great harem of the mosque are Orsi. Which is a mixture of wood along with stained glass? During the day time in Haram visitors cannot see out of windows due to the light. Light is major feature of spirituality, which is also been mention in the Holy Quran. The Orsi windows were used in the mosque with the intention of creating a colorful and spiritual environment inside the mosque.
Nasir ul Mulk mosque due to its staggering colors attracts visitors from all over the world. The tourists visit the mosque from every corner of the world. The ratio of photographers and painters is considerably higher than other visitors. The number of visitors is in high numbers, as the mosque is a historical, Islamic architectural and spiritual center.
The current condition of the Mosque
Today, Nasir ul Mulk mosque is in the original form, as it was constructed. The mosque is remarkable as a National heritage site by Iran. The tourists visit the mosque at different times. But the best time for visitors to have a view of a mosque in real context is to have a look of great harem from 7 to 10 am. The mosque is used for offering five prayers, Jumma and Eid prayers by the visitors and natives of Iran.
The Nasir ul Mulk endowment foundation was founded in 1920. The foundation is responsible to take care of the mosque. It helps the visitors to have a tour of the mosque. The minor damages in the mosque are also cared for by this foundation. This is the only foundation that involves the cleanliness and replacements of mats etc.
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