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Gonbad-e Qābus

Gonbad-e Qābus

The 53 m high tomb built in ad 1006 for Qābus Ibn Voshmgir, Ziyarid ruler and literati, near the ruins of the ancient city of Jorjan in north-east Iran, bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran. The tower is the only remaining evidence of Jorjan, a former centre of arts and science that was destroyed during the Mongols’ invasion in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is an outstanding and technologically innovative example of Islamic architecture that influenced sacral building in Iran, Anatolia and Central Asia. Built of unglazed fired bricks, the monument’s intricate geometric forms constitute a tapering cylinder with a diameter of 17–15.5 m, topped by a conical brick roof. It illustrates the development of mathematics and science in the Muslim world at the turn of the first millennium AD.

Gonbad-e Qābus

Cette tour funéraire, haute de 53 mètres, a été érigée en 1006 après J.-C. pour Qābus ibn Voshmgir, souverain ziyaride lettré, près de Djordjan, l’ancienne capitale ziyaride, au nord-est de l’Iran ; elle témoigne des échanges culturels entre les nomades de l’Asie centrale et l’ancienne civilisation iranienne. Seule trace de la ville de Djordjan qui fut un pôle artistique et scientifique avant d’être détruite par les invasions des Mongols aux XIVe et XVe siècles, la tour est à la fois une prouesse technique et un exemple remarquable de l’architecture islamique en matière de tours funéraires ; son influence se fait sentir en Iran, en Anatolie et en Asie centrale. Construit en briques cuites non vernissées, ce mausolée est conçu selon un schéma géométrique complexe pour former une tour cylindrique – de 17 mètres de diamètre à la base et 15,5 mètres sous le toit – qui s’effile vers un toit conique en briques. Il témoigne du développement des mathématiques et des sciences dans le monde musulman au tournant du premier millénaire.

Gonbad-e Qābus

Destinada a albergar los restos mortales de Qābus Ibn Voshmgir, esta torre funeraria de 53 metros de altura, que fue construida en 1006 cerca de las ruinas de la antigua ciudad de Jorjan, a orillas del río Gorgan, en el nordeste del Irán, constituye un testimonio de los intercambios culturales entre las culturas nómadas del Asia Central y la antigua civilización de la meseta del Irán. Único vestigio de esa ciudad, que fue un importante centro de las artes y las ciencias antes de su destrucción por las invasiones mongolas de los siglos XIV y XV, este monumento representa una proeza técnica excepcional y es un notable ejemplo de la arquitectura islámica que influyó en las construcciones funerarias posteriores realizadas no sólo en Irán, sino también en Anatolia y el Asia Central. Edificado con ladrillos cocidos sin esmaltar y dotado de formas geométricas complejas, este mausoleo de 17 metros de diámetro en su base y 15, 5 metros en su parte superior tiene la forma de un cilindro que se va estrechando hacia su cúspide, rematada por un techo cónico de ladrillo. Esta torre funeraria es una muestra patente del desarrollo alcanzado por las matemáticas y las ciencias en el mundo musulmán hacia los comienzos del primer milenio de nuestra era.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Gonbad-e Qābus

Deze 53 meter hoge tombe werd in 1006 gebouwd voor Qabus Ibn Voshmgir (Ziyaridisch heerser en intellectueel). De toren is het enige overgebleven bewijs van Jorjan, een voormalig centrum van kunst en wetenschap dat werd verwoest tijdens de Mongoolse invasie in de 14e en 15e eeuw. De tombe getuigt van de culturele uitwisseling tussen Centraal Aziatische nomaden en de oude beschaving van Iran. De toren werd gebouwd van ongeglazuurde gebakken stenen, met ingewikkelde geometrische vormen en een taps toelopende cilinder met een diameter van 17-15,5 meter en bekroond door een kegelvormig, stenen dak. Dit laatste illustreert de ontwikkeling van wiskunde en wetenschap in de islamitische wereld.

Source: unesco.nl

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Gonbad-e Qabus © Atusa Momeni
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Visible from great distances in the surrounding lowlands near the ancient Ziyarid capital, Jorjan, the 53-metre high Gonbad-e Qābus tower dominates the town laid out around its base in the early 20th century. The tower’s hollow cylindrical shaft of unglazed fired brick tapers up from an intricate geometric plan in the form of a ten pointed star to a conical roof. Two encircling Kufic inscriptions commemorate Qābus Ibn Voshmgir, Ziyarid ruler and literati as its founder in 1006 AD.

The tower is an outstanding example of early Islamic innovative structural design based on geometric formulae which achieved great height in load-bearing brickwork. Its conical roofed form became a prototype for tomb towers and other commemorative towers in the region, representing an architectural cultural exchange between the Central Asian nomads and ancient Iranian civilisation.

Criterion (i): Gonbad-e Qābus is a masterpiece and outstanding achievement in early Islamic brick architecture due to the structural and aesthetic qualities of its specific geometry.

Criterion (ii): The conically roofed form of Gonbad-e Qābus is significant as a prototype for the development of tomb towers in Iran, Anatolia and Central Asia, representing architectural cultural exchange between the Central Asian nomads and ancient Iranian civilisation.

Criterion (iii): Gonbad-e Qābus is exceptional evidence of the power and quality of the Ziyarid civilisation which dominated a major part of the region during the 10th and 11th centuries. Having been built for an emir who was also a writer, it marked the beginning of a regional cultural tradition of monumental tomb building including for the literati.

Criterion (iv): The monument is an outstanding example of an Islamic commemorative tower whose innovative structural design illustrates the exceptional development of mathematics and science in the Muslim world at the turn of the first millennium AD.

Integrity

The property expresses its value as an exceptional geometric structure and icon in the small town of Gonbad-e Qābus, clearly visible from many directions. It continues to express features of an Islamic commemorative monument combining traditions of Central Asia and Iran. The exterior flanges and inscription bands are in good condition, but the insertion of the ramp and the design of the retaining wall on the hillside have slightly damaged the form of the mound on which it stands.

Authenticity

The monument retains its form and design, materials, visual dominance in the landscape, and continues as a holy place visited by local people and foreigners, and as a focus for traditional events.

Protection and management requirements

Gonbad-e Qābus is protected under the Law for Protection of National Heritage (1930) and was inscribed on Iran’s list of national monuments in 1975 as number 1097. Regulations pertaining to the property provide that damaging activities are prohibited and any intervention, including archaeological investigation, restoration and works to the site must be approved by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO). The tomb tower and surrounding area are managed jointly by the Municipality and ICHHTO in accordance with the Master Plan for Gonbad-e Qābus town (1989) and the detailed plan (2009), which aim to preserve the historic and visual characteristics of the city. Protection measures controlling heights in the buffer zone and landscape zone are supported by the Master Plan. The management plan should be extended to include a conservation programme.