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    Mausoleum of Davazdah Imam Yazd, Iran

    / 11th century
    Yazd - Mausoleum of Davazdah Imam   Yazd, Iran


    • Plan Your Visit: Half an hour

    Mausoleum of Davazdah Imam (Persian: مقبره دوازده امام) as the oldest historic building in city of Yazd is located in historical part of city. It is an adobe building with a sole dome-building constructed on a hexagonal plan. The shallow dome is rather unusual in Persia and gives the shrine an Ottoman flavour.

    The shrine of Davazdah Imam or the Maghbareh-ye Davazdah Emam, as it is locally known, means the shrine of the Twelve Imams, which dates back to the early 11th century, has inscriptions inside bearing the names of the twelve Shiite Imams, though none are actually buried here. It is now badly deteriorated.



    This Seljuq shrine is one of the leading Islamic brick monuments. This shrine constructed in 429 AH., is located near the Hosseinieh (place where the martyrdom of Imam Hossein is mourned for theater of passion-players of the Fahadan Quarter). It functions both as a religious shrine and as funerary mosque.

    The structure is noted for containing one of the oldest extant squinches of a type found extensively in the edifices of the Seljuq period; a trefoil arch that was elaborated, multiplied, and finally developed into muqarnas (projecting niches used for spatial transitions to create domes, often from a quadrilateral to a circular base). It thus marks a significant stage in the increasing emphasis on the zone of transition in Seljuq architecture, first seen in the mausoleum at Tim from 977-8.

    According to the inscription in the building, Abu Masoud Beheshti and Abu Ya'ghoub Isaac, both military governors of Kakuyid ruler Ala-al Doleh Faramarz, began construction in 1036-7 and later Seljuq additions can be detected in the characteristic decorative patterns of the front portal.

    The structure primarily consists of a square chamber and twelve domes dedicated to the Twelve Shi'ite Imams, of which the central dome rises over an octagonal base created by a number of tri-lobed squinches. Built largely in plain brick with a pronounced batter of bearing walls, a stark symmetrical silhouette and unalleviated visual mass is maintained with a flat, uninterrupted roofline. The building's verticality and heavy dome is emphasized by elaborate external articulation, seen in the use of narrow proportioned brick panels and concentric arches in relief. The mausoleum's shallow dome together with dome of the adjacent Zendan-e Eskandar or Alexander's prison, ascribed by popular tradition to have once been the famed Macedonian's jail (for Yazd's rebellious elite, controls the Fahadan quarter's skyline).



    The interior contains fragments of an ornamentation scheme that include a wide variety of carved stucco forms. The design on the dome interior, painted colored shafts overlapping to form a sunburst, is the earliest example of a design that would be subsequently repeated in Yazd. A panel over the mihrab bay incorporates high relief carved stucco in a unique, quilted design not seen in any other standing edifice. A pattern of Kufic inscriptions in three lines, within a floral margin lists the names of each of the consecrated Imams. The structure also houses the grave of Fakhreddin Esfajaroudi, one of the venerated Esfajaroudi Sheikhs of Fahadan from the fourteenth century. Considerably restored in the last century, the building preserves one of the first stages of structural and decorative art experimentation of what is now characteristic architecture of the entire Kavir region.

    Notes & Recommendations:

    Best time to visit: before sunset

    About Us

    The word Persia gives the image of a magical and mysterious land of far away and long ago, of ancient monuments and beautiful works of art – carpets, tiles, fine ceramics and miniatures. It also reminds us of legendary and tragic love stories and epic poems about great wars. And Persia is indeed a world ancient and contemporary, a bridge between heaven and earth. We want to show you around. Discover things to do on your next trip to Iran and plan a trip of your lifetime. Yes, it is that easy! This website gives you the tools to plan your trip to Iran: detailed information on destinations; inspiring ideas on what to see and do in each city; where to stay; where to eat; travel guides and let’s say everything you need so you can dream up a trip to Iran.


    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.