In Golestan province, near the ancient Ziyarid capital, Jorjan (Gorgan), the 53-meter high Gonbad-e Qabus tower can be seen. Jorjan was the center of art and science that the Mongols destroyed during their invasion in the 14th and 15th centuries. People of Jorjan built the highest brick tower in 1006 AD. They built this remarkable tower of unglazed fired bricks with a geometric form and a conical roof.
You can see a Kufic inscription all around the tower. It commemorates Qabus Ibn Voshmgir, the Ziyarid ruler. We translate this inscription as “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 built in his lifetime, the year 397 AH and the year 375 SH.”
The conical roof form is a significant example of the development of tomb towers in Iran and Central Asia. It represents the architectural and cultural exchanges between the Central Asian nomads and ancient Iranian civilization. It also indicates the development of mathematics and science in the Muslim world at the turn of the first millennium AD.
This UNESCO world heritage site is an innovative example of Islamic architecture. This site is an exceptional evidence of the Ziyarid civilization which had a significant part in the region during the 10th and 11th centuries. These genius architects built a stunning memorial for an Amir who was not only the ruler but also a writer. The intelligence of a great ruler, the Islamic architecture and the tower’s specific geometric forms have come together to represent an outstanding site in the north-eastern part of Iran.