One of the most important artistic and historical buildings, which have remained from the Zand period, is Vakil Mosque, also known as soltani Mosque and Jami Vakil, Mosque. This Mosque was built by order of Karim Khan Zand near the royal palace and in the Zandiyeh complex. Now after about two centuries this building is sill standing.
It was used as a place for Friday prayer a few years ago. The tile workes in this building is one of the best that shows the art of Iranian tile workers and the painters in the 12th century A.H. This mosque was built between 1751 and 1773, during the Zand period; however, it was restored in the 19th century during the Qajar period.
Vakil means regent, which was the title used by Karim Khan, the founder of Zand Dynasty. Shiraz was the seat of Karim Khan’s government and he endowed many buildings, including this mosque.
The most considerable difference between Vakil Mosque in Shiraz and most Iranian mosques is the lack of a dome.
Vakil Mosque covers an area of 8,660 square meters. It has only two iwans instead of the usual four, on the northern and southern sides of a large open court. The iwans and court are decorated with typical Shirazi haft rangi tiles, a characteristic feature of the art and industry of Shiraz during the latter half of the 18th century. Its nocturnal area or Shabestan (night prayer hall) with an area of 2700 sq.m. contains 48 similar tall pillars of stone with a beautiful ceiling and a marble altar that is considered to be one of the master pieces of the Zand era.
Masjed-e Vakil is especially famous for its large prayer hall (75 meters long, 36 meters wide) covered with small cupolas resting on forty-eight twisted columns cut out of one single block of stone. The entrance gate of the Vakil mosque is very artistically decorated and is flanked on two sides by the left and right corridors. From here, you are led to the main room which has an altar.
This mosque was built under the order of Karim Khan Zand.
A tall pulpit (menbar) embedded with green marbles will greet your eyes and the speaker has to climb all the way up to sit there and face the people in the mosque. The ambiance inside the mosque is very soothing and you will feel inclined to dream about the huge congregation of people who must have gathered there in the past to offer their prayers.
Your artistic appreciation will be further strengthened when you notice the Koranic verses right on the entrance gate written in Sols and Nosakh scripts.
This place is, unsurprisingly, a popular tourist destination, and the area around it offers much more for the visitor to enjoy. If you enjoy visiting cathedrals and churches for their wealth of history and unbelievable beauty that can await you at every turn, then the Vakil Mosque should be high on the list of things you intend to see before you die. A truly unforgettable experience.