If you have never seen or heard of the Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, you should instantly add it to your travel bucket lists. It’s an absolutely beautiful place and once you have seen pictures of it, it’s impossible not to be drawn to visiting it.
The Pink Mosque is obviously famous for its stained glass windows. The Mosque is oriented such that the sun’s rays illuminate the room in a way that puts Joseph’s Dreamcoat to shame.
I visited the Pink Mosque with Ellen. A fellow blogger, you can check out her excellent website at TravellingTheWorldSolo.com. We met the previous day in Shiraz and visited Persepolis together as well. You can read about that day here Shiraz – Persepolis and the Necropolis.
When we first arrived in the Pink Mosque, the sun was only just starting to project beautiful colours onto the walls and carpets inside. We had made sure to set our alarm early and get to the Mosque just as the sun was lighting up the room. The light is so vivid and colourful, but the shapes it projects so soft. We arrived at about 7:45am to, but the best light conditions were not until around 8:30am and they continued to be good conditions until around 9:00am. Entry cost into the Mosque was 150,000 IRR (about 4€).
Initially all the photos that we were taking were from the far end of the Mosque. However, not because we wanted to. Unfortunately it was due to an unruly bunch of about 20 tourists already in the Mosque when we arrived. Ughh, sometimes tourist groups just make it so easy to hate. We really wanted to be inside the Mosque on our own for at least a small window of time so that we could get some photos of the entire room lit up. Not only was that seemingly not going to be possible, but it seemed we might not manage to get any photos of the entire interior unobstructed.
The other tourists were really, really, really annoying. They left bags and coats and cameras lying around on the floor of the Mosque. Trying to take a photo without someones gear spoiling the shot was a real challenge.
So Ellen and I decided took it upon ourselves to start herding the annoying tourists. We subtly and slowly pushed them and all their gear, down to one end of the Mosque towards the entrance. It took a while and a lot of patience but as you will see while scrolling through these photos, successful! Perhaps the biggest tip I can give to anyone visiting this mosque looking to get some good photos, is to get bossy! If you are stuck trying to compete with a bunch of other tourists, spend some time explaining the situation to them. Explain to them that if everyone moves their crap out of the way, and shuffles towards the entrance, everyone’s photos improve!
Their might have been one or two people who had their noses put out of joint by Ellen’s polite suggestion that “you are ruining everyone’s photos”. But so be it. There were plenty of others who I am appreciated our efforts and went away with better memories.
Some of my favourite photos are the ones I took with reduced exposure settings. Underexposing the photos allows the vibrancy of the colours to really jump out. It achieves this by limiting the detail that can be seen elsewhere in the scene, particular in the roof. Our eyes are not so distracted. The photo above is one of my favourites.
At the other end of the spectrum is this photo below. The Pink Mosque is obviously famous for its colour and normally our photos focus on this element. Yet here we have a black and white photo and it looks incredible! Suddenly detail that you normally ignore, such as the brick work and mosaic tiles, really comes out. It allows you to admire the shapes that are projected into the room, through the windows, in much more detail. You can admire these shapes, because our eyes are not being constantly distracted and bombarded by the colour.
The interior of the Mosque is constantly evolving as the sun continues to rise outside. Areas of the Mosque interior that are initially in the shadows, start to light up. You can’t see the lights move, but every minute when you look back, a slightly new area is lit up.
I like the photo above a lot. It’s a nice one I took of Ellen silhouetted against the stained glass windows. It’s so easy to spend all your time looking at the light play against the floor and windows, that you completely ignore the windows themselves! The windows are absolutely the star of this show. Yet it occurred to me how little I was making them the centrepiece of my photos.
If you have a wide angle lens available you should definitely bring it. Some of my photos would I think look a lot better if I could have expanded my field of view.
Hope you enjoyed the photos of Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosques in the entire world. Next up I will be writing about my visit to a couple of beautiful religious shrines also located in Shiraz. Stay tuned!