Imam Reza Shrine Complex: Sahn-e Engelab
Mashhad, Iran
The Sahn-e Engelab or Sahn-e Atiq (the old courtyard) is located in the northeast of the shrine complex. It consists of the standard four-iwan plan. Shah Tahmasp commissioned the first gold-plated minaret, located above the northeast iwan. An inscription dates this blind iwan to 1649/1059 AH and identifies it as a gift of Shah Abbas II. Decorated with mosaic faience, the northeast iwan is considered one of the finest of Persia.

Opposite Abbas' iwan is the iwan-i tala-yi naderi (nader's golden iwan), which provides access to the buildings clustered around the tomb chamber. Originally constructed by the poet, scholar, and musician Mir Ali Shir Navai in the late fifteenth century, this iwan was restored by Nader Shah who lined it with gold and pendant mirrors. Nader Shah also commissioned the second gold minaret, located above the golden iwan and dated 1732/1145 AH.

The east iwan is topped by the Naqqara-khana (place of kettle drums), and the west iwan by a clock tower.


Blair, Sheila S. and Jonathan M. Bloom. The Art and Architecture of Islam. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

Byron, Robert. "Timurid Architecture". In A Survey of Persian Art (Arthur Upham Pope and Phyllis Ackerman, eds.). Tehran: Soroush Press, 1977. 1119-1164.

Golombek, Lisa and Donald Wilber. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.

Hutt, Anthony. "Iran". In Architecture of the Islamic World (George Michell, ed.). New York: Thames and Hudson, 1978. 251-258.

O'Kane, Bernard. Timurid Architecture in Khurasan. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1987.

Pope, Arthur Upham. Persian Architecture. New York: George Braziller, 1965.

Pope, Arthur Upham. "The Safavid Period". In A Survey of Persian Art (Arthur Upham Pope and Phyllis Ackerman, eds.). Tehran: Soroush Press, 1977. 1165-1225.
Mashhad, Iran
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Sahn-e Atiq
Old courtyard
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