Interior of Octagonal Pavilion Tomb of the Sheikh Abdolsamad, Natanz, Iran.

Detail view of khanqah portal; muqarnas semi-dome, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Samad Mosque, Natanz, Iran.

Portal of Abd-al-Samad-tomb

Facade of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Samad Mosque

Detail of mosaic tiling

Natanz gets in the news as the location of Iran’s nuclear facility but much more interesting is the beautiful Abdolsamad Tomb & Mosque. This is a large funerary complex which has grown up organically around the tomb of Abd al-Samad, a follower of the famous Sufi saint Abu Said who died in 1049. The central feature of the site is the octagonal tomb around which is built a four-iwan congregational mosque dated to 1309. Internally the tomb is a cruciform chamber which is converted to an octagon at roof level. The roof is a blue-tiled octagonal pyramid dome outside and internally comprises a tall muqarnas vault.