Gonbad-e Qavus Tower or Qabus Tower is a historical construction located in the city of Gonbad-e Kavus in the north of Iran in Golestan Province. The architectural style is based on the “Razi style” or related to Ray. It is considered the tallest all-brick tower in the world after Qutb Minar. The tower is 73 meters high and is located on top of a hill, which is about fifteen meters above ground level. This tower was built in 1006 A.D. during the reign of Qabus Ibn Voshmgir in the city of Gonbad-e Kavus which was the capital of the Al-Ziyar kings. This building has been registered as the 14th historical and cultural work of Iran in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Architecture of the Gonbad-e Qavus Tower
Gonbad-e Qavus Tower consists of two parts: the foundation or base of the tower and its body, a conical dome. The exterior circular structure of the tower has 10 corners. These corners are at equal distances from each other, starting from the base and extending under the cupola roof. Between those corners is an entire brick mountain.
The internal diameter of the Gonbad-e Qavus Tower is 9 meters and 70 centimeters, its diameter from the bottom of the corners is 14 meters and 66 centimeters, and its diameter from the top of the corners or from the diameter of its base is 17 meters and 6 centimeters. The dense core has a slight deformation from the bottom to the top and completes the conical dome of the tower at a height of 37 meters. This beautiful building is constructed of a special shoe-shaped brick, it is a straight shell. The tower is built from a combination of Sarooj mortar and burnt red bricks, which have turned golden yellow under the influence of time and sunlight. The plaster Muqrans and Kufi script inscriptions are the only decorations of the tower.
Gonbad-e Qavus Tower is 18 meters high and consists of two layers. The dome is built on top of the main part of the tower without any additional elements and increases the height of the main building to 37 meters. The tilt used in the dome and its polished surface is considered a masterpiece in domed architecture. This smooth and polished envelope prevents even birds from standing on it.
The most attractive part of the Gonbad-e Qavus Tower for visitors is the circular space outside the building, where if you stand in the center and shout, your voice will echo and be heard much louder.
The purpose of building a tower
There are various theories about the main purpose for which the tower of Gonbad-e Qavus was built, the most probable reason for erecting such a building may be to house the tomb of its founder Qabus Ibn Voshmgir, which of course was never found during the numerous excavations, and there are theories that Qabus’ body is hanging on the tower roof in a glass sarcophagus and the hole in the eastern part of the tower was made so that Kavus’ body could receive the first rays of sunlight.