« One Happy Dog Speaks | Main | Power blackout hits Power Outage protest meeting .... »

April 27, 2008

Decorated mosque

Iranian mosques are a riot of colour and decoration unlike those generally seen in other Middle and Near Eastern countries. The Iranians belong to the Shia branch of Islam as opposed to the Sunni sector. Sunni Islam has a more austere (though one could be forgiven for wondering sometimes which is which!) approach to the following of certain precepts of their faith. While I do not pretend to understand these divisions, they do strike me as a bit like the argument between those of the Roman branch of Christianity and the Orthodox branch - except that the Sunnis seem more "Protestant" and the Shia more "Catholic". It all centres on the number of "Imams" since the Prophet and here the Farsee word "Imam" means "Leader" and again they mean by that the descendents of the Prophet himself.

Entrance and unfinished minarets Saleh Abad.jpg
The Mosque at Saleh Abad, a village on the south western ouskirts of Tehran.

Entrance Saleh Abad cropped.jpg
The ornate decorations are created using hand painted and glazed tiles - an expensive and time consuming task.

I was welcomed to the Mosque in a most friendly fashion and shown some of it's glories. I don't like to give offence so refrained from taking photographs, but my hosts promptly borrowed my camera and began "happy snapping" with it! The results can be seen in the following pics.

Narthax Saleh Abad.JPG
In a Christian Church this would be the Narthax, or entrance vestibule, though in an Orthodox church (Which many Mosques here strongly resemble!) it would be the Nave with the Screen separating the inner sanctuary from the secular. The green glass and silver chased case holds the Holy Quran which is ceremoniously removed to be read on Fridays.

War Memorial Saleh Abad.JPG
In the Narthax I noticed this small War Memorial which commemorates the many who died in the Iran/Iraq War - an event remembered here with some bitterness - Sadam was then being funded and equipped by the West! And yes, I did wonder about the cross motif!

Interior Dome Decoration Saleh Abad.JPG
The decorated interior of the cupola over the main prayer room of the mosque - a very peaceful place.

This little mosque is fairly typical of those found in Iran. It was a sharp contrast to the starkness of those I have seen in the rest of this region and I could not help but be struck by the resemblance between these mosques and some of the Orthodox churches I have seen in parts of Eastern Europe, both in the layout and the style of decoration - except, of course, no human images here save those on the graves and the war memorials.

Posted by The Gray Monk at April 27, 2008 07:01 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: