The Shah-e-Cheragh Mausoleum Is An Iranian Treasure Lined With Glittery Glass
Shield your eyes! The interior of the Shah-e-Cheragh Mausoleum sparkles brighter than 100 Liberace capes. Come for the Instagram shot, stay for the Iranian structure's fascinating history.
Extreme Home Makeover: Mausoleum Edition
Shah-e-Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran was erected in the 12th century as a funerary monument and mosque. Over the years, it has become a place of significance for the Muslim community. The structure houses the holy tombs of brothers Amir Ahmad and Mir Muhammad, sons of the seventh Imam (the title of a mosque's worship leader) and brothers of Imam Reza (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and the eighth Shi'ite Imam). Nearly 200 years after those tombs were created, Queen Tash Khatun turned the modest mausoleum into a pilgrimage destination. The queen had the place renovated, demanding millions of pieces of colored glass that glitter in the sunlight and magnify its brilliance. Yas kween, mission accomplished.
Queen Tash Khatun's aesthetic was, in a word, opulent. And that's putting it lightly. Though the exterior of Shah-e-Cheragh is objectively pleasant, the interior cranks it up about 50 notches. Today, the tiny reflective chunks of glass make it seem as though you're walking inside giant, glittering crystals. The decorations consist of glass intermixed with colored tiles, marble, carved wood, and stained glass. And, just for good measure, huge crystal chandeliers dangle overheard.
(Psst, while you're in town, check out the Nasir al-Molk Mosque too, also known as the "Rainbow Mosque." Shiraz was considered the heartland of Persian culture for hundreds of years, after all.)
Oh, and just remember, the U.S. State Department suggests being very, very careful if you travel to Iran.