Gonbad-e Qabus

Gonbad-e Qabus

The city of Gonbad-e Qabus is located in Golestan province, in northeastern Iran. Gonbad-e Qabus Tower is located on top of a hill, north of the city and in the extreme northwest of the national park. Also known as the Tower of Qabus or Maghbar-e Qabus (Mausoleum of Qabus), it is located 3 km southwest of the ruins of the ancient city of Gorgan. It is one of the most magnificent structures of the early Islamic centuries and remains prominent in the chaos of urban life and buildings, attracting the viewer’s eye even from miles away.

The height of the tower has been recorded as greater than 53 m in various sources, however, according to the latest photogrammetric studies it measures 53 m, of which 35 m correspond to the shafts and 18 m to the conical roof. The structure has a transformed circular plan and the radius of the dome is 4.8 m. The inner circumference is 30 m and the outer 60 m. The wall of the dome is 4.8 m thick, half the diameter.

The mausoleums followed the mosques and schools in the line of the great public facilities of the Islamic period. They were constantly rooted deep within Iranian society and culture. Some of these tombs had religious functions and were considered sacred by many, while others played the monumental and commemorative role of famous literary figures, heroes, princes, kings, etc.

Tomb structures must be studied according to two categories of pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, taking into account their presence throughout Iran, various factors effective in their development, and the influence of Islam in this regard, which was remarkably considerable.

After the rise of Islam, they began to bury the dead in flat graves without special ceremonies. However, as time passed, the graves of the Prophet’s companions were marked by the erection of wooden columns and shadows. These shadows and shelters were modified and completed with the addition of altars and places of prayer, so that many of them became mosques.

Classified as a funerary tower, the Gonbad-e Qabus mausoleum dates from 1006 AD. and it is one of the most important Islamic tombs.

The earliest mausoleums in Iran were square-plan structures. However, at the end of the 10th century AD, they acquired their particular fame with the funerary towers; this form continued to dominate during the reign of the Seljuks. The domain was so evident that it is possible to see examples of almost all types of burial towers between AD 1000 and 1200. The tombs belonged mainly to rulers, emirs and commanders. According to the Sunni tenor of the Seljuk government, the mausoleum of the Shiite imams is hardly distinguishable among these burial towers. However, relatives of the rulers of the Shiite dynasties in the Caspian Sea region have built the burial towers.


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