Gonbad-e Qābus is in Golestan province in Jorjan (Gorgan), close to ancient Ziyarid capital. It is a 53-meter high tower can be seen form miles away.
Jorjan, the center of architecture, art and science that the was destroyed during their invasion of Mongols between 14th and 15th centuries. Back in that period, jorjan’s architect and scientists constructed the tallest brick tower in 1006 AD. They built this exceptional tower of unglazed fired bricks with a geometric form and a conical roof. It is the tallest of its kind in the world.
Archeologists have hypothesized dissimilar opinions about the function of Gonbad-e Qabus tower. Some claim that it has been a burial structure for Qabus Ibn-e Voshmgir, Ziarid ruler of approximately 10th and 11th centuries in northern Iran. As archeologists have not found any corpses or related remnants in the cellar, it is impossible to approve or disapprove this opinion. However, others believe that Qabus built this structure to use it as an observatory. These scholars refer to the historical sources where Qabus has ordered the construction of this building.
Kufic inscription is visible all around the tower. It commemorates Qabus Ibn Voshmgir, the Ziyarid ruler. “In the name of God, the most compassionate and merciful. This is the magnificent palace of Amir shams Al-Ma’ali, son of Amir, Qabus, the son of Voshmgir. It was ordered to build in his lifetime, the year 397 AH and the year 375 SH.” This is the translation of one of these Kufic inscriptions.
This architectural work of art is made of three main parts:
- Foundation: Constructed on top of an artificial hill, Gonbad-e Qabus Tower is made of bricks and the traditional Iranian concrete called “Sarooj”. There is a cellar like any other tomb towers.
- Body: There is one entrance looking at the southeast with trilobed niches decorating its top. This is one of the earliest examples of moqarnas (stalactite vaulting).
Buttresses that are made with perfectly right angle create some Silhouettes, adding extra beauty to the whole structure.
This UNESCO world heritage site is an innovative example of Islamic architecture, an exceptional evidence of the Ziyarid civilization that had a crucial part in the region during the 10th and 11th centuries. These genius architects built a stunning memorial for a king who was already a writer and had interest in art and architecture. Overall, ingenuity of the ruler, the Islamic architecture and the tower’s detailed geometric forms have come together to represent a remarkable site in the northeastern part of Iran.
- Conical Roof: its height is 18 meters and inside is a 9m-diameter space at the base. Baked bricks are used for the construction of the roof.