People, Travel

Iran's Gonbad-e Qabus Tower

Gonbad-e Qabus TowerGonbad-e Qabus Tower

Gonbad-e Qabus (the tower of Qabus) mausoleum tomb tower is located near the ruins of the ancient city of Jorjan in Golestan Province, north-east of Iran.    

The 55 m high tower (the dome 18 m), is an outstanding masterpiece and technologically innovative example of Islamic architecture that influenced buildings in Anatolia and central Asia, built in 1006 AD for Qabus ibn Voshmgir, Ziyarid ruler and literati, clearly visible from many directions.    


The monument’s intricate geometric forms constitute a tapering cylinder with unglazed fired bricks and a diameter of 17 - 15.5 m, topped by a conical brick dome. The first star shaped one-layer tower, has ten triangular exterior flanges in order to strength and embellish the facade. It is for the first time in Islamic architecture Muqarnas (a kind of raised platform) is used.    

Two decorative encircling Kufic inscriptions, one atop the portal and the other below the dome, commemorate the king with two AH and Yazdgerd calendars, as:”In the name of GOD, this is the great castle of Qabus ibn Voshmgir, built during his life, in 1006 AD”.    

It illustrates the development of mathematics and science in the Muslim world at the turn of the first millennium AD.    


There is vague information about the usage(s) of the tower. Perhaps it was a milestone to show the way to travelers, or a statement of majesty. Although no graves were found, some believe it was the tomb of Qabus.  

There is a special location over the tower surrounding area where amazingly one’s voice echoes back.    

The tower is the only remaining evidence of Jorjan, a former center of art and science that was destroyed during the Mongols’ invasion in the 14th and 15th centuries.    

The monument retains its form and design, materials, visual dominance in the landscape and continues as a site of interest visited by local people and foreigners, according to Fars News Agency.    

The tomb tower and the surrounding area are protected under the Law for Protection of National Heritage since 1930.