Walking towards the entrance of Agha Bozorg mosque, we see its minarets and central dome rise above the rectangular entrance. In my head, images of similar structures in Central Asia come to mind, and I am curious to see this particular one, in the middle of Iran, on the edge of the desert and at the feet of barren mountains. We listen to an explanation about the history of this mosque, which is not even that old: it was built in the late 18th century. Mullah Mohammad Naraqi, the son of powerful Mullah Ahmad Naraqi, who rallied support against the Russian invaders of the north issuing a fatwa and who was interred in the shrine of Ali, had this place built for prayers and teaching. His nickname was Agha Bozorg, meaning Great Lord, bestowed on him directly by the Shah.
Since this place had to offer opportunities to both praying and teaching, there is a madrassa, or koranic school as well. We see it in the sunken courtyard below. When we walk towards the prayer hall, we see the arched gallery with its decorative elements over the arches reflected in the pool below. Before us, we see the two richly decorated minarets, covered with tiles all around, and the large iwan, or vault, with turquoise tiles above it. Once inside, we look up at the ceiling, and see delicate decorative tiles embellishing the brick walls. The central hall is light and airy: it has openings on all sides, and a welcome wind blows through from the outside to cool us off. The dome, high above us, is mostly left without decorations.
Behind the building, we find a small volleyball court in another sunk field. We walk around the corridors and smaller halls in this main building, looking up at the decorated ceilings, where workers have places small tiles in perfect patterns. We look across the sunk courtyard, this time from the other side, and see the pool, the galleries, and the rectangular entrance gate from behind. A small world in itself, offering the peace of mind to concentrate on teachings and prayers, just as it was intended by Mullah Mohammad Naraqi. I would have loved to stay here, see the sun set slowly on the blue, green, white and yellow tiles, making the shadows of the minarets longer and longer, and finally, see the mosque lit up, but we still have a long drive ahead of us, so unfortunately, we have to leave this special place behind.
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