Visiting Iran without seeing its awesome mosques, can be an unfinished journey. One of the most important of one is “Pink mosque” or “Nasir Al-Molk” mosque. This mosque is one of the most visited and admired places in Shiraz. In fact, in addition of its beauty and aesthetic aspect, its architecture is considerable. Actually, there too many things to do in Shiraz but visiting this wonderful place can’t be ignored.
Nasir Al-Molk mosque or Pink mosque was built during the 19th century by Nasir Al-Molk, a dignitary of Shiraz who was from Qavam house, one of the most powerful houses in Shiraz. Their generation refer to Ibrahim Khan, the last chef advisor of Zand era and the first of Qajar dynasty whom betrayed his lord Lotfaali Khan, the last king of Zand era, and helped Agha Muhammad Khan, the founder of Qajar dynasty, to over crown him, but later executed by Qajars. Someone believe that Nasir Al-Molk decided to built a new mosque in the competition with Moshir house, another well-known house of Shiraz which Moshir mosque was built buy them. Any way constructions lasted for 12 years, including a mosque, a bath, a house and a warehouse which unfortunately due to the constructions of Lotfaali Khan street, just the mosque is remained.
As you enter everything seems like other mosques, But a bit later you will notice differences that make it a unique mosque in Iran. First there is an entrance with a wooden door that stalactites, tile workings and an inscription are its decorations, it is a poem about the builder and the date of construction. Then, there is a porch which through it you can reach the court yard, by turning 90° to the left. This part is a bit darker and decorated with tile workings and an inscription which is a poem of Saadi. When you get to the court yard, you wont notice that it does not have a square plan, it is hided by the mastery of the architect. Also there is a pool in the middle. In fact, based on Persian architecture pool shows the direction of Qibla or the main part of buildings, in mosques it is the praying hall but here just identifies Qibla. Moreover to the north and south, there are two vaults. The northern one is deeper and more beautiful. It is known as the pearl vault, that’s for stalactites. In addition, the yard specially vaults, is ornamented with astonishing tile workings. In some part there are inscriptions of verses of Koran or quotes of the prophet and his descendants. But the most important decorations are paintings of pink flowers which are the main character of the mosque and the reason of being called “Pink mosque”. These paintings were done by the most famous painter of the time, “Lotfaali Suratgar”. Another feature of this amazing place is that in spite of other mosques the praying hall is not located to the south, however there is vault there. The praying hall is to the east. Surprisingly there is not a dome, a portico or minarets in this part. Even Mihrab is not toward the door. In fact you will enter from the west, so if you turn left you will see Mihrab at end of the praying hall. Also there are 12 spiral stone columns in two rows of six in the praying hall and decorations are simple. But the most beautiful part of the mosque are stained glasses of the praying hall. Almost all the visitors adjust their time to be there between 8:30 to 11:00 AM, in order to have a nice shot, the passage of light though the stained glasses produces an eye-catching scene which is absolutely amazing. Just across from the praying hall there is another one which is now the museum of endowments. This part has a corridor and was a religious school as well. Behind this part there is a passage which there is a well there. Actually in this part water was pulled by a cow, this type of supplying water is known as “Gav Chah”, literally means “Cow Well”. Moreover, to the northwest there is a shrine called “Imamzadeh Zanjiri”.
Nasir Al- Molk mosque or pink mosque is a masterpiece of architecture in Iran. In fact its fame refers to the paintings of pink flowers and also stained glasses of the praying hall. In addition, it is a unique mosque for its architecture, a mosque without a dome, minaret, a praying hall toward Qibla, etc. Any way if you travel to Iran, make sure to plan visiting this outstanding place, specially in the morning