SHIRAZ | Shah Cheragh, which is Persian for “King of the Light” is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Shiraz. It is home to the tombs of the brothers Ahmad and Muhammad, sons of the 7th Shiite Imam Musa_al-Kadhim, who took refuge in the area during the Abbasid persecution of Shia Muslims and were killed here in AD 835.
Shah Cheragh is a funerary monument and mosque and has been a place of pilgrimage since the 14th century when Queen Tashi Khatun erected a mosque and theological school in the area and ordered the tomb to be covered with “millions of pieces of colored glass that would glitter in the light and magnify its brilliance a thousand times”.
It is a very holy place and regardless of your religious leanings, or whether you’re religious at all, you can’t help but feel moved when you’re in the presence of those for whom the area holds much spiritual importance. Pilgrims pray in the mosque, touch the walls of the marble mausoleum and express great outpourings of emotion – kissing the walls, crying and praying. This is one of the things which is noticeable as soon as you enter but the other, even more noticeable thing is the mirrors.
As mentioned earlier, the interior of the mosque is decorated in mirrored mosaics, formed using hundreds of thousands of glass mirrored pieces while the ornamentation and doors are covered in silver. The mirrored pieces are intermixed with green, yellow, red and blue tiles. The floor is made from green marble and is covered with brilliantly thick red Persian rugs. From the roof hangs giant, dazzling crystal chandeliers. The result is something truly striking and unique, a fantastical version of what the inside of a disco ball might look like.
If you ever find yourself in Shiraz, Shah Cheragh is undoubtedly a place you must visit. Men must remove their shoes and enter through the left entrance while women are required to wear a chador (loaners are provided free of charge) and must enter through the right. As is obvious from reading this article, photography is allowed, however keep in mind to be respectful of those who are there for religious and spiritual reasons.