Amazing Planet

Visiting The Pink Mosque In Iran Is Like Stepping Into A Kaleidoscope

From the outside, the Nasir al-Molk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran is a beautiful, if pretty traditional structure. But step inside, and you experience an otherworldly explosion of colorful lights. People call it the Pink Mosque, Kaleidoscope Mosque, and Rainbow Mosque—and it's not hard to see why.

Related: Ancient Greek Statues Used To Be Colorful

An Instagrammer's Dream

The Pink Mosque isn't your average temple of worship. Opened in 1888, this mosque was built to catch the light of the rising sun through its stained glass windows. According to Muslimheritage.com, "The designers Muhammad Hasan-e-Memar and Muhammad Reza Kashi Paz-e-Shirazi used extensively stained glass on the façade and other traditional elements such as panj kāseh-i (five concaves), which create a breath-taking effect of the interior like standing in a kaleidoscope." Great Big Story describes this site as a "building, adorned with shimmering multi-colored pieces of tile and glass," and says it's "considered the country's third most important pilgrimage site. It functions as a funerary monument, a mosque and a beautiful holy place for thousands of worshippers."

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Though it's called the Pink Mosque for the rose-colored tiles that cover its interior, the name doesn't quite do it justice. Those tiles are just one of many bright, whimsical hues swirling around the place.

A One-In-A-Million Mosque

If you've been in a church, you're probably familiar with stained-glass windows. In fact, stained glass got its start during the Gothic period and the Renaissance (1100–1500s), when it was used to make religious art. According to Khan Academy, "stained glass inspired the lives of the faithful through religious narratives in churches and cloisters, celebrated family and political ties in city halls, and even decorated the windows of private houses."

Related: The Amazing Colors Of The Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree

This form of art isn't as common in mosques, however, so it's not a regular part of a Muslim's religious life. Save for the Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, mosques painted in the colorful hues of stained glass are a rarity.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Mosques

Behold the Shimmering Beauty of Iran's Glass Mosque

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Travel bucket list alert!

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