AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The architecture of Imam Reza Holy Shrine has so far captivated a large number of tourists and experts from all over the world with its beauty and magnificence. However, a Swiss professor has a different look and judges it beyond an artistic monument.
According to Patrick Ringgenberg, one of the eight main promoters of the life and conduct of Imam Reza during the 12th International Imam Reza Festival, the holy shrine is an art museum that is not limited to the contemporary era and features architecture from the Seljuk period (ca. 1040-1157 AD) to the present day.
Speaking about the architecture of the holy sanctuary, the lecturer from the University of Lausanne said: “It must be taken into account that the buildings with the decorations added after the Islamic Revolution (1979) are part of a long history , and of a different quality. For example, the monuments of Quds and Jomhouri Eslami courts are of very high quality”.
The Swiss researcher who has already won the Iranian Book of the Year and the Farabi International Awards continued: “As a historian, I am sorry for the loss of many ceramic decorations, especially at the Gowharshad Mosque. Unfortunately, many decorations, glasses and tiles were lost due to lack of restoration during the Pahlavi era (1925-1979)”. He lamented the poor quality of the current substitutes; yet announced, “the sanctuary is still a unique monument”.
He also drew comparisons between the holy shrine and similar monuments in Europe, expressing, “There are many monuments on the continent dating back to the Middle Ages, which were gradually added over different periods and centuries. Therefore, the Holy Shrine is not unique in this regard. What makes it exceptional, however, is the combination of pilgrimage, royal patronage in different dynasties, and its transformation into a sacred capital for the nation. That is to say, the sacred shrine and dome, which houses the tomb of Imam Reza, is the religious pole of this country”.
The Swiss expert then spoke about the evolution of the architecture of the holy shrine in terms of the order of the columns and the decorations which created a multi-faceted nature in larger spaces such as Gowharshad and the new courtyards.
He concluded his remarks by calling for a historical investigation of the less-examined aspects of the unique monument in the city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.