The Tomb of the Prophet Daniel sits at the center of the modern city of Susa along the banks of a small river known as Shawr (Shaur). It is a shrine commemorating the Biblical prophet, who is venerated in Islam although not mentioned in the Qur'an. Based on what seems to be its original form (a muqarnas-vaulted tomb chamber), and mentions of the shrine in medieval texts, the tomb may date to as early as the twelfth century / sixth century AH.1 The current structure is just over a century old, having been repaired after a flood in 1869/1287 AH.2
The shrine takes the form of a vaulted tomb chamber flanked by two prayer halls and preceded by a large forecourt. One enters the complex from the east through a decorative portal that gives onto the large forecourt. At the center of this forecourt is an octagonal fountain. Access to the tomb chamber and prayer halls is provided through an iwan on the eastern facade of the forecourt, vibrantly decorated with tilework and ainah-kari (mirrorwork). This iwan gives onto the tomb chamber, which is surmounted by a large vault composed of twenty-five courses of muqarnas cells resting on a muqarnas drum. The tomb chamber communicates with covered spaces to the north and south (prayer halls) via iwans.
The current structure is the result of nineteenth and twentieth-century CE renovations. The original structure may have been smaller, consisting of the vaulted tomb chamber and adjacent rooms.
The muqarnas vault of the tomb chamber, whose courses are visible on the exterior, can be seen from miles away and relates to the dramatic muqarnas vaults marking other shrines in Mesopotamia (historical Iraq, Khuzistan, and Syria), many constructed during the twelfth and thirteenth/sixth and seventh centuries AH.2
- Herzfeld, "Studies in Architecture," 36.
- Varjavand, "Danial-i Nabi."
- Herzfeld, "Studies in Architecture," 37 and Tabbaa, "Muqarnas Dome," 65.