The Oscars are this weekend and Argo is my choice for Best Picture. It’s not just because I can’t stop looking at Ben Affleck’s fantastic beard. Argo is a great movie.
I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it but it’s basically about the attempt to rescue hostages from Iran. I actually remember that time, although I was too young to remember or absorb the details.
Argo is a teeth clencher. On the edge of your seat, stuffing your face with popcorn, heart beating-can’t believe it was directed by the former BF of JLO kind of movie. Kudos to Ben Affleck for acting AND directing. Quite frankly I think he got shafted by the academy for not being nominated for Best Director.
via Google images
Because most of what I think about is related to design or architecture I started mulling on Iran and the architecture of Ancient Persia.
Tomb of Zobeide via Karen‘s Whimsy
As a topic, Ancient Persia is too broad but what I find incredibly fascinating is that during the height of Persian rule (550 BC- 330 BC), the Persian Empire included more than 8 million kilometers and spanned 3 continents. From Egypt to Turkey to Israel and parts of Saudi Arabia- Persian rule even gave Greece a reason to sweat and went to war with them as well.
Map of Persian Empire via Google Images
Alexander the Great put a stop to Persia’s greatness when he conquered the Persians in 332 BC. He burned Persepolis which was considered the best example of Persia’s ancient grand architecture.
Muslim influence on Persian architecture is seen after the Islamic conquest in the 7th Century and might be what most people think of when they see the beautiful bridges, gardens and mosques in Iran.
The main elements of this kind of architecture include-
Arabesque: This is the repeating of geometric forms usually in mosaic. Symbolizes infinity.
Tomb of Hafez- Shiraz, Iran via Google images
via Google images
Lotfollah Mosque via Firooz Zadeh
via Firooz Zadeh
Domes: Usually on a Mosque but also on shrines.
Ishfahan via Beyond Aesthetics
Pointed Arch- Can be seen in almost any Islamic architecture: doorways, bridges, and ornamental detail
Khajou Bridge via Destination Iran
Shalimar Gardens via @Faisal.Saeed
Fin Gardens via ali reza parsi
Minarets or Towers: At times minarets had lit torches are were used as watch towers. Mostly seen on Mosques today and an be used to issue the call to prayer.
Qom via German Vogel
via Skyscraper City
Lastly, the element of water in the form of fountains and basins in gardens is important. It represents ablution and purification in Islam. The Persian gardens are quite beautiful and I would love to visit them.
via Islamic Arts
Which place includes ALL of the Islamic elements? I’ll give you a hint….It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But wait, isn’t the Taj in India? It is indeed. Which shows you how this style of architecture traveled.
Taj Mahal via Google Images
The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture. It combines Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architecture and is breathtaking.
Arabesques, domes, pointed arches, minarets and water.
So back to Argo….
The Iran of Argo (1979-80) looks different than ancient Persia but elements of Persian design can be seen in the movie. There is a tension throughout the film that for me echoes the tension throughout the region–then and now. With such a storied and at times volatile past it seems to make sense.
Mr. V and I will be having our annual Oscar party…just the two of us. we get some great take in and fill out our ballots. I am voting and rooting for Argo. Every year we bet and most of the time we forget who won and what was at stake. Maybe this year I’ll win and I’ll remember I wanted a day at the spa.
What are you doing for the Oscars?
Thanks for reading,
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