Traveling to Shiraz, the city of poets, literature and gardens to have a glimpse on the amazing architecture of several Zand monuments is worth spending some quality time. In the meantime, Vakil Mosque is a must-see for both domestic and foreign visitors.
Built in the mid-18th century by Karim Khan Zand, the founder of Zand Dynasty in the heart of his capital city, the beautiful mosque is part of the Zandiyeh complex connected to Vakil Bazaar and Bathhouse, all in the vicinity of the royal citadel. It is called Vakil meaning regent, the title used by the ruler who did not use to call himself a king to show affinity with the people.
Covering an area of 8,660 square meters, the mosque includes two halls and two entrance doors decorated with colored tiles in nice floral patterns and the Qur’anic verses in Sols and Nosakh scripts. Upon entering the mosque, visitors can see one of the corridors leading to the main passageway of Vakil Bazaar on the left.
Following the gate, there are two corridors on the left and right ending in a vast open courtyard surrounded by two porches (iwans) instead of the usual four in the northern and southern sides in a symmetric way covered by stone slabs and centered with a relatively long pool.
Due to having no garden, the flat area of the courtyard has doubled the eye-catching beauty of the typical Shirazi seven-colored tiles, shining on the entrance portal and the two porches with tree-of-life patterns on major parts of these sections, giving a relaxing atmosphere.
The characteristic feature of the mosque is its 2,700-square-meter main hall known as Shabestan (night prayer hall) built on 48 identical stone pillars, each carved with spiral shape from a single block of stone, covered with small cupolas, and embellished by wonderful tile works. Also, the hall includes a fantastic mihrab (decorative panel directed to Mecca) and a fine 14-step marble Minbar (pulpit) as one of the masterpieces of Zand era.
Going to Vakil mosque, this fascinating landmark of Shiraz in terms of design and architecture, stone carving and tilework with a soothing ambiance dating back to about two centuries arouses artistic appreciation for those who enjoy visiting this awe-inspiring historical monument.