Nasir-al-mulk mosque is one of the most historical and magnificent structure which remains from Qajar era. Comparing with other mosques, such as Vakil or Jame Nuo, it has smaller size, but it has so precious and elegance architecture which is a masterpiece of the era. The appealing tiles and stone columns of the mosque are an adaption from Vakil mosque.
It has been located in Guod-araban, which was known as Eshaq Beig in Lotf-Ali-Khan Zand street with 2730 square meters.
It has an elegant entrance with two summer and winter prayer halls and two porches in northern and southern sides of the mosque that belonged to Qavam family. House and bathroom from late Nasir-al-mulk and Imam Zadeh Zanjiri in western side of the mosque, Qavam’s school and mosque and Zinat-al- mulk house have been remained from Qajar era.
Late Hassan Ali Nasir-al-mulk was from wealthy and noblesse family of Shiraz, whose father was Mirza-Ali-Akbar Qavam-al-Mulk (time ruler of Fars), began to construct the building in 1876 and completed it in 1888. The architects of this building were Mohammad-Hassan Memar, Mohammad Reza Kashi Paz and Mohammad Hosseini Shirazi. This building which has a masterpiece structure was registered in the list of national and historical structures of Iran in 1965. Hassan Memar who was well known architect, also constructed Eram Garden, before Nasir-al-mulk mosque.
The materials which were used in the construction were mostly from bricks and plaster, the foundation was built from stones with the combination of stones, tiles and bricks in an interior and exterior design. In different parts of the wall there are some pieces of woods to make the building flexible and protect it from the earthquake.
The mosque undertook two periods of repairments, one is about 60 to 70 years ago to repair the floor of the western prayer hall. And the second one began in 1991 to 2006. Today all the expenses of the new repairs have been provided from the endowment income and charity affairs. All repairs have been done based on careful technical principles and specific standards of the monuments. Repairing has been done on resisting foundation, creating channel to dispel humidity, rebuilding fractures, insulating the roof, reconstructing disposal channels of pool and surface water, completing repairs of interior and exterior body of the prayer halls, repairing the floor of the western prayer hall and tiles of the northern and southern sides of the mosque.
Architectural features of the mosque
In Lotf- Ali khan street, a magnificent building of Nasir-Al-Mulk mosque attracting any visitors. On the left side of the alley, Nasir-Al-Mulk house is located with simple bricks and on the right side, there are old and simple houses and an amazing entrance of the mosque at the end of the alley, unconsciously appealing every visitors. Entrance
The mosque constitutes three entrances; one is the main and the two others are opened from southern side of the mosque and from Imamzadeh which is located next to the mosque. The main entrance of the mosque was decorated with seven-color tile and lots of ornamentation of Shiraz pink roses and iris.
This head has two pillars, each has two meters in diameter. Each pillar has divided in to three parts, two parts of each pillar has two vertical boards to the end of the head, at the middle of the two boards, a living platform has been created. At the top of the platform, there is a colorful tile in the same level with other boards, which is completely symmetrize with other pillar in terms of paneling. The head has installed in a distance between pillars and spring stone (a stone with one meter high with two stones platforms on the two sides), two frames behind the platforms are used to avoid its uniformity.
The wooden door of the mosque includes a big seamless stone with Islamic decoration which keeps the heavy door with five and seven arches. A poem from Shoorideh Shirazi was written on the little copestone in Nastaliq script in favor of Nasir-Al-Mulk and his beautiful mosque along with the date of the construction.
On top of the copestone there is eleven rows of Mogharnas design which was decorated with amazing seven colors. The main entrance of the mosque was completed with a copestone designed with azure tiles and Sols script. The second entrance which opened from the southern side has been decorated with bricks and tiles
From the main entrance, there is a vestabule reaches to the courtyard with ninety degree screw. In the former, there was a door on the right side of the vestibule which reached to the water closet, but this door has been closed now and the water closet removed from the mosque ownership. Vestibule constructed simply and without any decoration. A famous poem of Saadi and the names of the architects of the mosque were written on a tile which installed as a symmetry to the entrance door. Before entering to the courtyard there is a road at the left side of the corridor which reaches to the roof and rooms located on vestibule.
The court yard of the mosque which was designed as a rectangle, makes it available to access to the western and eastern prayer halls, northern and southern porch and vestibule reaches to Imamzadeh which is located next to the mosque. A rectangle pool with 4.5 * 16.5 meters has been constructed in front of the porch which makes it more beautiful. All around the yard has been decorated with seven colors tiles, the tiles around the yard are ended with an azure copestone of Quranic verses with white and sols style script.
Nasir-al-mulk mosque has two porches, northern porch with full of decoration is known as the pearl arch, at some times of the year, the reflection of the sun in the pound water falls in to the bowl under the porch.
Northern porch Northern porch with 8 meter high has unique work of mogharnas, a 30 cm high stone avoid the direct entrance to the porch, western vestibule of the porch has a connection to the eastern prayer hall, Imamzadeh, toilet and rooms in eastern side of the northern porch.
This porch does not have any special usage. It has been designed for symmetrical pattern to the northern porch. Earth’s geology and connections to the Imamzadeh, mosque and water well with architectural features made this porch shallower.
There are three arches on each side of the porch with different depths which creates unique architectural features. Decorating one side of the mosque, completely the same as the altar, with two short finials revealed the paths of Qiblah. But, to compare the high of this porch with the court yard, it is concluded that, it could not be used as an altar, but it may be used for religious services or to pray in summer afternoon.
Due to the two doors which were opened to the small room and finial, the arches in the eastern side of the southern porch lost their symmetrical pattern, as these doors had specific usage, the architect consciously built them higher than the floor to compensate the deficiency.
The southern side of the court yard was completely decorated with tiles and at the bottom, the stones were sculptured in an Islamic manner. The Islamic pattern with red and pink tiles and the images of churches and flowers which were used in northern porch is also repeated in the southern porch.
This mosque has two prayer halls, one in the western and the other in the eastern side and each one has designed for specific purposes.
Eastern prayer hall
Due to its construction, this section was considered as a summer prayer hall. The prayer hall, directs in to the Kiblah and includes eight gaps toward the eastern-western side.
In the gaps from the eastern side, there are places for sitting, which may be used for discussion or study. The main usage of this prayer hall was for summer, so the architect connects the prayer hall with the court yard with wooden doors which did not reflect sunshine as much. There are some holes on top of the each door for ventilation. Also there is a northern-southern lanai to preserve the building from the direct sunshine that would be closed in winter and opened in summer.
The ceiling covered with simple bricks and tiles is straight, without spiral and decoration that were used in the western prayer hall. This prayer hall used as a placed for performing public meetings but now it has been used as an endowment museum which shows pictures of well-wishers of Shiraz to the visitors from past till now.
Behind the prayer hall, there is a big door which opened to the cow well.
Here is a place of water that the cow walked down hill to raise the water from underground and pulled it into the pool which is located next to the well. Through using pipe, water directs into the big pool of the court yard.
Western prayer hall
The western prayer hall is one of the most outstanding prayer halls in Iran. This prayer hall with a collection of decorated tiles and bricks and paintings of pink flowers with well carved columns creates a fabulous design.
At the beginning, the floor had bricks in 30*30 dimensions. But in the repairmen of 70 years ago, turquois bricks in 20*20 cm dimension were used which caused the high of the prayer hall to be 10 cm shorter and also covered some parts of the columns under the bricks.
The columns in Nasir-al-mulk mosque regarding to its carving and designation considered as one of the most beautiful design in historical places of Shiraz. These columns begins with a series of pots and spiral carvings at the bottom of the pots and ends with a series of beautiful Islamic designs.
These kind of stone columns first were used in Nuo mosque, then culminated in Vakil mosque and repeated in other mosques of Shiraz. The columns in Nasir-al-mulk mosque are perfect in terms of lathe, patterns and the beginning and ends of the figures.
This prayer hall has two rows of six columns with 21 domes. There are seven domes between the two columns which reaches to the amazing altar, but the two other rows of domes have different design from the middle.
This prayer hall is mostly constructed with bricks, but the architect used a beautiful picture of tiles after each meter for its variety. Seven wooden doors, designed with colorful glasses faced to each picture which reflect the sunshine on the surface of the columns and bricks in morning that creates special beauty. The external body of the winter prayer hall is covered with seven doors. The combination of colorful glasses of doors and the reflection of the sunshine on the floor, makes this prayer hall to be unique from all other mosques of Iran.
A beautiful altar is in the southern side of the western prayer hall which completely built from the stone. The floor of the altar with 15 cm distance from the floor of the prayer hall covered with tiles. All parts of the altar were designed with the images of flower and verses of Quran. The verses used in the altar are:
“In the name of Allah there is no power but from God and God Almighty said: The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and His Messenger – victory from Allah and an imminent conquest”.
Due to specific architectural features, Nasir-al-mulk mosque is brilliant which still remained from Qajar era. But now a days, regarding to different life style and social communication, traditional and religious architectures were vanished tragically. And today, architects just work to repair or rebuild the remaining monuments.