Gonbad-e Qabus Tower, a cone shaped building remained from the tenth century AD, is located in Gonbad-e Kavus city. Situated in north of Iran, It is the tallest full-brick tower in the world. And the monument is on a hill 15 meters above the surface. The height of the tower including its foundation is 72 meters. It was constructed in 996 AD while “Qabus ibn Wushmagir”, a Ziyarid ruler, was ruling in Gonbad-e Qabus where the Ziyarid capital was at that time. Gonbad-e Qabus Tower was registered on UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in 2012.
History and background
There are controversies between historians and scholars over the original usage of this tower. Some experts consider this tower as a tomb. They believe that the chamber inside of the hill was the burial place of Qabus. And it was built on his order for this purpose. These historians rely on the artificiality of the hill. Mostly because there was a brick foundation discovered within the hill to the depth of the excavation. Since archeologists couldn’t find any corpus in their excavations, experts cannot refute or confirm the theory.
However, some historians count on the literary and scientific character of Qabus. They believe that Qabus’s relationship with scientists, especially astronomers can be considered as the confirmation of the theory. Qabus ordered a prominent astronomer of his time, “kiakoushkar-e Gilani”, to construct an observatory in the capital. According to historical sources the architectures followed his order and built the observatory. But there is no report about its location. Consequently, according to this group of historians, the dome of the tower is the mentioned observatory.
The tower and its architectural structures
An important point about the application of this tower is that no contradiction offered to accept any of these two hypotheses. However, in terms of structure, the dome tower is different from many other ones. And it is not yet clear why it had been built!
Regardless of the historical discussions about the dome tower, what credited this historic monument is its perfect structure. Its structure ranks the tower among the best architectural structures of human history. This privilege was given to the dome tower in an international survey conducted among world famous architects. The architect has built the tower only of brick without any stabilizer and has remained steadfast over a thousand years. It is still standing even after two earthquakes which happened more severe than six on the Richter scale.
One of the architectural features of this dome is the use of special bricks (extended shoe-like bricks) in the building. Besides, the dome is double-shelled. Moreover, the designer has built the inner dome in half-oval shaped and of common brick just like other domes. However, he has used extended bricks in the outer dome. Gonbad-e Qabus Tower