Panorama of the Week: The Hidden Peacock Mosque – Isfahan, Iran

If you look up, at just the right time, you’ll see a peacock on the ceiling,” our guide, Javad, explained as he walked us under the gilded and tiled dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran.

We craned our necks, searching for just the right angle. With the aid of sunlight passing through a nearby window, an image of a peacock — previously unseen, now tail shimmering — was revealed to us brush strokes. Intermittent cries of “Oh!” indicated when everyone in the room “got it.”

A playful peacock on the ceiling of an early 17th century Iranian mosque? Though you may not see it in this panorama, he’s there. Throughout the space, there were little optical illusions buried in rich, broad designs. Like so many mosques in Iran, the calligraphy and tile work were truly dazzling. (In a visual dictionary, the definition of dazzling ought to include a few shots from inside mosques in Iran.)

As we lingered, a group of young Iranian women on a school trip entered the mosque. They stole glances of our group as we made our way around, only half paying attention to their guide (even that is a generous estimation). When their lecture ended, we found ourselves surrounded, answering questions about where we were from, where we had visited in Iran, what we thought about the country. They invited us to a concert that evening, email addresses were exchanged.

Are you on Facebook?” They’d ask.

Yet another dose of the unexpected — in peacocks and people — during our visit to Iran.

Panorama: Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Esfahan, Iran

panorama directions

Disclosure: Our trip to Iran is in cooperation with G Adventures as Wanderers in Residence. We paid our own transport to and from Iran, some expenses on the ground and for an additional one week private tour. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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Comments

  1. says

    I want to go to Iran SOOO badly! What stunning history, architecture, and food! The (U.S.) media makes it seem like a very hostile place to go, but I’ve heard differently from people who’ve actually been there. Lovely, friendly people, right?

  2. says

    At first when I looked up, I was like there is no peacock there until I look again. This entire picture almost looks like painting. Also the interior looks lovely

  3. says

    @Jade: The interior comes off more impressive than the peacock, which is better visible in the photo linked in the article.

    @Jam: That’s Iran, vibrant, if not dazzling. You could say Iran is one of those places where those words are not misused.

  4. Srivathsa says

    My dream trip – to visit Iran and then take the train to Turkey. Some day, some day… So many places so little time :).

  5. says

    @Sutapa: Glad you finally spotted the peacock. It is a bit tough to find in the panorama. Much better in real life :)

    @Dave: Iran was fascinating, beautiful and also full of contradictions. Hope you have a chance to visit soon.

    @Srivathsa: So true about the world being big with so many places to visit. We did take the train from Iran to Turkey at the end of our trip. Highly recommend it! You can read about the experience here: http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2012/03/iran-turkey-train/

    @Kevin: Thanks. Hope you have a chance to visit Iran soon. It’s a fascinating place.

  6. eman says

    Hello guys.Im Eman and im iranian.we iranian say welcome to any one who wants to travel to our country.:d

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