The people at the hotel reception had said that the next place on my itinerary, the Masjid – I – Nasr ul Mulk could be accessed by going through the bazaar – Bradt seems agree. Helpfully she says this, ‘exiting the bazaar by the carpet quarter, turning right and right again’, only problem is you can’t tell where the carpet quarter is and while I could have a pretty good go at asking for a carpet in Farsi, how do you say ‘quarter’? The only solution seemed to be to ask for the mosque itself. I must have asked half a dozen people before I wandered into what seemed to be the back streets of a residential district of the city. I must say that like the rest of the city it was very clean, but eerily deserted. I managed to keep walking as if I knew where I was going (by this stage I’d have had a few mutinies on my hands if I had had the family along with me).
I came across the odd cleric in all of this and thought that they must know. The last one I asked seemed to be totally confused when I said the name, which was surprising because he must have been as old as the mosque itself. Anyway he asked someone who might have been able to speak English to help me and having said the name of the mosque a couple more times he realised that my ‘Nasir’ ul Mulk was actually ‘Naseer ul Mulk’ – which he did know and pointed me in the right direction.
Going into the lane housing the mosque, my heart sank, the doors were shut. As I got nearer, one of them seemed to be a little ajar, so I thought I would try my luck. It opened! What if I wasn’t supposed to go in? I guess I could always play the dumb tourist. Bradt says that this 1876-1887 construction is rarely visited by tour groups. But it is very pleasant and obviously when I got there it was very quiet. This allowed me to take pictures in peace. There is also a little museum adjoining it, with more photos of 19th century Shiraz.