Shah Cheragh is a funerary monument and mosque in Shiraz, Iran that houses the tomb of the brothers Muhammad and Ahmed who were brothers of Ali Reza and sons of the seventh imam in Islam. They took refuge in Shiraz during the Abbasid persecution of Shia Muslims. Shah Cheragh is Persian for “King of the light”, shah meaning king and cheragh meaning light. The beginning of the construction of the tomb was in 1130s AD but further work was done in 1300s and 1500s AD. The religious history of the shrine would make for a very long description however.
The shrine has two large mosques inside, one on either end.
There are two large entrances that can be seen in the photo above in the right and left corners. Once you step through those doors you enter the large patio inside the walls of the mosque.
This is another view of one of the entrances.
More close up views of the entrance ways.
The photos above are views of the second mosque. Each one houses the tomb of one of the brothers.
To enter any mosque in Iran you have to wear a “chador” which is a piece of fabric that covers the entire body except the face, which we are wearing in the photo above. The mosques have chadors for rent but we brought our own and threw them over us right before walking into the mosque. To enter the mosques you must also take off your shoes. The entire inside of both of the mosques are lined with Persian carpets from end to end. There is a shoe check before you enter the door which you can pay to have your shoes put in a cubby. The walls and floors of the mosque are made entirely of marble and the entrance ways are made out of pure gold.
When entering the mosque for the first time, I was in pure awe. Every millimeter of the walls and the tall domed ceilings of the mosque are lined with tiny pieces of reflective glass in different colors. The ceiling being domed and the glass being positioned in different angles reflects so much light that it is hard to open your eyes at first! Enormous chandeliers hang from each of the domes in the ceiling.
Once inside the mosque my mom, my sister, my aunt and I grabbed Qurans and stones to pray on (Islamic prayer tradition) and we did a special prayer that you are supposed to do once inside the mosque to ask for your wishes to come true. I didn’t know all of the parts of the prayer but listening to someone pray out loud is just as valid as saying it yourself in Islam. Guards surrounded the tombs of Ahmed and Muhammad so I was not able to take photos of the tombs but that was also an amazing site. The tombs were gold and surrounded by gold cages and then another wall of plastic that had slits for people to insert cash with their prayers.
I am not a super religious person but stepping inside the mosque just filled me with an overwhelming feeling that almost brought me to tears. Was it worth having to wearing a chador for a couple of hours that kept slipping of your head every two seconds in extremely hot weather? Absolutely yes.
Disclaimer: taking photos inside the mosque is illegal but I managed to snap a couple of shots from underneath my chador (perks?). When taking one photo I did get caught (stupid camera made a loud noise) and threatened to have my camera taken away but the guard let me go with a warning (God’s will?).