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How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?


The Shah-e-Cheragh mosque in Iran is located in Shiraz. Imam Reza’s brother is buried here and that makes Shiraz and this mosque an important pilgrimage site. The mosque is easy to find, because its next to the great bazaar and all signs will point you to the mosque as well. Always wanted to know how it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

Read my personal report about my visit to a mosque in Iran!

Wearing a chador when you visit a mosque in Iran

Before entering the mosque in Iran, we need to go through a check. A check with a safety gate, metal detector and a strict looking female guard. All women in front of us are being searched and we won’t escape it either. The security lady provides us with a green chador, which was rather smelly to be honest. It takes some time to put the chador on properly. Everything must be covered and it will take a while before we found a solution for our bag and camera. Luckily our attire was approved and we were allowed to enter.

We immediately notice that we stand out. We are the only tourists inside and are having difficulty with the chador. Besides, many women wear a black chador, where we were provided with a green one. How to take pictures without your chador opening? It seems like an impossible feat!

visit mosque in Iran, How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

By the way, at the end of our trip to Iran, we’ve became seasoned chador wearers as well as true experts. There are several kinds of chadors and my personal favorite is the one with a zipper and sleeves! Not the chador I was provided with in this mosque in Iran, which consisted of one piece and which resembled a tablecloth most of all, with all due respect of course. Or you need to know the trick how to knot it, because that makes every chador reasonably wearable.

The tour with the guide and her bright pink feather duster

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the mosque is a very large and clean square with many magnificent buildings. Everything is beautifully decorated with plenty of details, most of them turquoise/ blue mosaic. I’m impressed by the magnificence of the building and how many people are around immediately.

We are just looking around for at least five minutes, until a lady approaches us with a feather duster.

We are starting to laugh, because we don’t understand why the lady has the feather duster, perhaps to clean something? The lady starts talking to us enthusiastically and eventually we found out that she is the ‘obligatory’ guide for tourists. She talks proper English and talks with a lot of enthusiasm about the mosque. She is worth her weight in gold, because she knots our chador. This frees us from needing to use one hand to keep the chador closed and in place. She takes us to the women’s mosque and we follow her.

visit mosque in Iran, How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

A true thousand-and-one-night fairytale

Once we enter the women’s mosque our mouth opens once again in amazement. Kitsch is the only word coming to mind! And boy, I do love me some kitsch. It feels like I walked into a thousand-and-one-night fairytale. This is exactly why I wanted to visit Iran! The guide just keeps on talking and I notice she starts to get irritated because she wants to go faster than we do. But I’m still too impressed by the thousands of mirrors. They leave an everlasting impression on me and I only pick up half of the guide’s story.

visit mosque in Iran, How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

Kitsch, kitsch, kitsch…. I love it!

What I’m seeing between all those thousands of mirrors is that everywhere women are standing and sitting on colorful carpets. Al these women are busy; busy praying, busy calling, busy reading, busy eating. There are kids surrounding these women everywhere. To my surprise, there are power outlets everywhere as well, for mobile phones to be charged.

I’m looking at it, but don’t know what to do.

I am so impressed I forgot to take pictures. And believe me, that doesn’t happen often. Luckily my guide points out the fact that taking pictures is allowed here. That is the clue to which I start making picture fanatically. The friendliness of Iranians makes sure that they start posing for my pictures. Iranians are such friendly people! I’m having a conversation with some ladies and I pose willingly for a few selfies some other ladies want to take.

visit mosque in Iran, How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

The guide is in a hurry during our visit to a mosque in Iran

Unfortunately for us, the guide is still in a hurry and we aren’t allowed to sit down to just enjoy the beauty and splendor. The tour is over already and the guide starts firing questions at us. She is truly interested in us and asks us how live is in Holland, if we are married and where are husbands are. She tells us to tell our friends and family how Iran is really like and that they are good people. So, as per her request: Iranians are the friendliest people I have ever met!

We are walking towards the mosque’s exit with too many impressions and too much information. We decide to contemplate from half an hour of a thousand-and-one-night fairytale. But first take lunch before we continue to explore the magnificent city of Shiraz.

visit mosque in Iran, How it’s like to visit a mosque in Iran?

This is my personal report about my visit to a mosque in Iran. Have you ever visit a mosque in Iran?



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