Upon entering Wazir Khan Mosque, you are immediately taken aback by its beauty, especially during sunset. The din of the adjacent street vanishes, providing a quite place to pray and reflect. The mosque is situated in one of the busiest parts of the Walled City or Old City section of Lahore, Pakistan and is surrounded by shops, homes and a large hammam (steam bath). The Walled City was originally accessible through 13 gates, of which only six survive today. Wazir Khan Mosque is most easily accessed from Delhi Gate.

The construction of the mosque began in 1634-35, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, and lasted seven years. The Governor of Lahore Ilam-ud-din Ansari built the mosque. He was commonly known as Wazir Khan (wazir means minister in Urdu). Prior to becoming Governor, Wazir Khan was the court physician to Shah Jehan.

The mosque is famous for its extensive glazed architectural terra-cotta (also known as faience tile work) and four octagonal corner minarets. The minarets, each 107 feet in height, mark the four corners of the interior courtyard. The minarets are decorated with mosaic tiles made up of floral motifs and Arabic calligraphy. Small tile-like brick is used in the construction of the mosque rather than stone. An unusual feature of the mosque is the presence of 22 shops that are part of the mosque’s plan. This is apparently one of the first mosques to incorporate shops into its design.

2010 © Ali Khan | khan-artist productions

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