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The Hidden Peacock at Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque – Isfahan, Iran


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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.”

Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Esfahan, Iran.
Fisheye view from inside Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Esfahan, Iran.

A playful peacock on the ceiling of an early 17th century Iranian mosque? 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.


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.

Our experiences above were from the G Adventures Discover Persia Tour. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on one of the links above. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission that helps us continue to share stories like this. Thank you!

About Daniel Noll
Travel and life evangelist. Writer, speaker, storyteller and consultant. Connecting people to experiences that will change their lives. Originally from the U.S. Daniel has lived abroad since 2001 and most recently has been on the road since 2006. When he's not writing for the blog you can keep up with his adventures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And you can learn more about him on the About Page and on LinkedIn.

18 thoughts on “The Hidden Peacock at Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque – Isfahan, Iran”

  1. Beautiful! This is one of my favorite places to visit in Isfahan, but I’ve yet to get a decent photo of the peacock. I agree that Iran’s mosques are dazzling. 🙂

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  2. 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?

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  3. 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

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  4. @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.

    Reply
  5. @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: https://uncorneredmarket.com/iran-turkey-train/

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

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    • Agness, we spent a little over an hour at the mosque. Most of it was spent just gazing up and getting lost in the reflections and light.

      Reply
  6. hello………my name is yasaman….im from iran……hope you to visit iran…i live in esfahan…..i always try to talk to americans….it helps me to improve my english…

    Reply

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