Iran's magical mystery: Take an Instagram tour of fantastical mosques

Photographer Mehrdad Rasoulifard opens a window into the spectacular architecture of Iran with images of medieval mosques that capture the complex geometry and intricate tiling of the holy sites, specifically their awe-inspiring ceilings.

Courtesy of his Instagram account (@m1rasoulifard), armchair travelers get a front-row seat to spectacular design from one of the world's oldest civilizations. Check out some of the most jaw-dropping interior embellishments ever made by man, fantastical compositions that would be missed if you never looked up. 

And remember, the images only approximate the giddy delights of the real deal: the view from inside these mosques, much like impressive cathedral tours, is always better experienced live by the luckiest travelers. All images from Mehrdad Rasoulifard (@m1rasoulifard)

 

 

 
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Hazrate-Masomeh mosque

This beehive-like ceiling crowns an interior space in Hazrate-Masomeh mosque in Qom, Iran. The city is considered holy by Shi`a Islam, and it's the site of the shrine of Fatema Mæ'sume, sister of Imam `Ali ibn Musa Rida. Qom is the world's largest center for Shi'a scholarship.

Hazrate-Masomeh mosque

Another ceiling in the Hazrate-Masomeh mosque, located in Qom, southwest of Tehran.

Hazrate-Masomeh mosque

Yet another upward view inside Hazrate-Masomeh mosque. In Shia Islam, close female relatives of the Twelver Imams such as Fatima Masumeh are often revered as saints. Her shrine in Qom is considered one of the most significant Shi'i shrines in Iran, attracting thousands of pilgrims annually.

Hazrate-Masomeh mosque

This ceiling in the Hazrate-Masomeh mosque in Qom, Iran, south of Tehran, is one of several unique designs within this single mosque.

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

A ceiling inside the 400-year-old Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Esfahan, Iran

Sheikh Lotfollah mosque

An exterior alcove at Sheikh Lotfollah mosque gets the same impeccable attention to detail.

Jameh mosque

This gilded ceiling within Jameh mosque in Esfahan, Iran, is estimated to be 900 years old!

Shahe-Cheragh mosque

A ceiling in the Shahe-Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Nasir-Al-Molk mosque

The ceiling of the Nasir-Al-Molk mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah mosque
Jameh mosque
Shahe-Cheragh mosque
Nasir-Al-Molk mosque
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
This beehive-like ceiling crowns an interior space in Hazrate-Masomeh mosque in Qom, Iran. The city is considered holy by Shi`a Islam, and it's the site of the shrine of Fatema Mæ'sume, sister of Imam `Ali ibn Musa Rida. Qom is the world's largest center for Shi'a scholarship.
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Another ceiling in the Hazrate-Masomeh mosque, located in Qom, southwest of Tehran.
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
Yet another upward view inside Hazrate-Masomeh mosque. In Shia Islam, close female relatives of the Twelver Imams such as Fatima Masumeh are often revered as saints. Her shrine in Qom is considered one of the most significant Shi'i shrines in Iran, attracting thousands of pilgrims annually.
Hazrate-Masomeh mosque
This ceiling in the Hazrate-Masomeh mosque in Qom, Iran, south of Tehran, is one of several unique designs within this single mosque.
Sheikh Lotfollah mosque
A ceiling inside the 400-year-old Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Esfahan, Iran
Sheikh Lotfollah mosque
An exterior alcove at Sheikh Lotfollah mosque gets the same impeccable attention to detail.
Jameh mosque
This gilded ceiling within Jameh mosque in Esfahan, Iran, is estimated to be 900 years old!
Shahe-Cheragh mosque
A ceiling in the Shahe-Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran
Nasir-Al-Molk mosque
The ceiling of the Nasir-Al-Molk mosque in Shiraz, Iran