Complex of Taqi al-Din Dada
Bandarabad, Iran
Built towards the end of the thirteenth century, the Complex of Taqi al-Din Dada is situated in the village of Bandarabad, located approximately thirty-five kilometers northwest of Yazd. It is one of the many khanqahs built by the thirteenth century Sufi mystic Shayh Taqi al-Din Dada Muhammad. It was here that upon his death in 1301 he was buried, according to historical references, in a dome chamber behind the mosque of the khanqah. His body was later moved to another khanqah that he also founded on the outskirts of Yazd, but many of his descendants and disciples were later buried there, including his eldest son Mahmud Shah.

The complex is composed of both a khanqah and a mosque, connected one to the other with the mosque to the west, offset further to the north. The plan of each is organized similarly with a central courtyard, and a large iwan and vestibule to the south, followed by a square domed chamber.

The mosque has an eleven-meter square courtyard. The east and west iwans connect to a kind of ambulatory space that leads to the dome chamber to the south and the shabistan to the north. The south iwan leads into a wide vestibule that gives access to the nine-meter square dome chamber. The dome chamber has a zone of transition from square base to dome composed of three tiers of large muqarnas, while the dome itself is covered with plain brick. The mihrab has a stalactite semi-dome, inset with mosaic-faience star-shaped panels. In the mihrab, a tiled dado with a carved marble panel is inscribed with the date 1473-4, revealing a period of renovation.

A large minbar stands to the right of the mihrab. It is decorated with glazed tilework in a pattern of eight- and twelve-point stars filled with floral arabesques of amber and light blue on a dark blue ground. One of the large stars, rather than being filled with a floral pattern, is inscribed with the names of the twelve imans in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction within a roundel, and with "and pray for" repeated twelve times in the center. Likewise, one of the smaller, eight-pointed stars, is filled with an inscription. Between these is a pattern of intersecting diagonal light blue tile strips that come together at certain points marked by a small five-point star. A low dado of blue hexagonal tile runs at the base and at the first three steps of the minbar, setting them compositionally apart from the rest of the minbar. A pointed arch opening set within a frame with spandrels of a floral tile pattern occupies the back area of the minbar adjacent to the wall. The topmost portion of the minbar is composed of a vertical rectangular projection that is narrower than the arched opening and is decorated with tile Kufic inscriptions.

The khanqah is organized similarly to the mosque. In the southern part of the courtyard is an eleven-meter long vestibule leading into the dome chamber. The dome chamber is eight meters square and contains many tombstones, and in particular one in the middle of the mihrab. The mihrab, one and a half meters tall and ninety-six centimeters wide, occupies the center of the southern wall. From the ground up to a height of 1.7 meters, turquoise colored tiles cover the walls, above which are four wooden windows that have been closed.

In the southwest corner of the southern wall there are stairs that lead up to the gallery below the dome. In the southeast corner of the southern wall and also on the west wall of the dome chamber are two small rooms with similar tilework that are now closed, as they are filled with bones of the dead.

The north iwan of the khanqah courtyard leads into a room that is hexagonal in plan, while the long south iwan leads into a large room to the east and an even larger one to the west. This space is a long hall with a large mihrab niche on the south wall. It links the khanqah with the mosque through a square vestibule to the north that leads diagonally into the dome chamber of the mosque.


Afsar, Irag. Yadgarha-yi Yazd, I, 249-53. Tehran: Anjuman-i Asar-i Milli, 1971.

Golombek, Lisa and Donald Wilber. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, Vol. I, 372-375 . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

O'Kane, Bernard. Studies in Persian Art and Architecture, VII, 137-145. Cairo, Egypt: American University in Cairo Press, 1995.

"Bondarabad Khaneqah." Caroun Website. [Accessed May 30, 2006].
Bandarabad, Iran
1388/790 AH, 1473-74/878 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Taqi al-Din Dada Complex
Imamzadah Khanaqah Taqi al-Din Dada
Building Usages