Three Kilometers away from the Gorgan city a 53 meters-high brick-tower will greet you, it is the Gonbade Qabus. Even though it is a tower, but the name Gonbade Qabus means the dome of Qabus. The story of this building is about a literate Ziyarid ruler named Qābus Ibn Voshmgir who is famous for his book Qaboosnameh that he wrote for his son Gilanshah. This tower is the tomb of the wise father whose book is full of guidance for his son so he can be a great successful ruler after Qabus passes away and Gilanshah takes the seat of power. Gonbade Qabus was the only inspiration for Robert Byron, the British travel writer and architectural critic, to have a tour in Iran.
This tower is the only structure remained from the era when the city of Jorjan (Gorgan) was the capital of art and science that got destroyed during Mongol’s invasion. Gonbade Qabus is a magnificent masterpiece of Islamic architecture because of its aesthetic geometry. The tower has a decagon shape and has a diameter of 17m. The conic dome forms the famous and golden ratio of Phi equals 1.618 and is located on 3m width walls. The dome is double shelled with an outer conical roof and an inner hemispheric shell.
On your tour in Iran you will see a number of tomb towers but Gonbade Qabus, built on AD 1006, is the oldest and first monumental tomb structure. The geometry of this tower, going from a circle to a 10 flanged form adds to the beauty of the tower, it also makes great contributor to the knowledge of structural stability of tomb towers.
The tower is built on a 9 meters deep foundation that has protected this structure throughout the centuries from all natural forces and disasters to maintain the tower.
Another outstanding feature of Gonbade Qabus is its Kufic calligraphy around the structure. In your tour in Iran you will see Kufic features in other buildings too such as mosques. The use of Kufic calligraphy, that is very simple and legible, was spotted in Razi style of architecture for the first time and after that it has been used in the inscription of buildings. This tower is a prototype for development of architecture and technology of tomb towers in Iranian architecture in Islam era.
The architecture of this monument designed the tower in a respecting manner so it will be a deserving represent of the valuable soul that is resting in it.
This tall beauty became one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites because it is the tallest pure-brick tower in the world.