Gonbad-e Qabus, listed in UNESCO, prepared for restoration

TEHRAN – A team of cultural heritage experts have started a detailed examination of the UNESCO-listed Gonbad-e Qabus as a precondition for the restoration of the millennial tower.

Located in Iran’s Golestan province, the brick tower is of great architectural significance as an exemplary and innovative design of early Islamic era architecture.

“So far, a documentation plan for the monument has been completed, and we have also determined an appropriate approach for a full restoration of the tower,” World Heritage Site Director Abdolmajid Nourtaqani said on Sunday.

“So far, to prepare a comprehensive plan for the restoration of this historic building, certain technological steps such as the individual examination of the bricks and their arrangement have been taken.”

While visiting the tower, the official told reporters that the first serious restoration work on the monument had taken place in the [Iranian calandar] year 1310 (1931), during which several groups of professional experts took valuable steps to preserve and restore this historic monument.

For years, World Heritage has suffered from the proliferation of weeds on the surface. According to Nourtaqani, the cultivation of plants on the Qabus Tower is not a new problem and is observed in all brick buildings in the country, especially in the northern provinces, due to their climatic conditions.

“The tower has also been confronted with this phenomenon for over a thousand years, although the problem has intensified by [heavy] rains earlier this year, ”said Abdolmajid Nourtaqani.

Visible from far away in the surrounding lowlands near the former Ziyarid capital, Jorjan, the 53-meter-high Gonbad-e Qabus dominates the town laid out around its base in the early 20th century.

The hollow cylindrical shaft of the unglazed baked-brick tower tapers from an intricate geometric plane in the form of a ten-pointed star to a conical roof. Two circling Kufic inscriptions commemorate Qabus Ibn Voshmgir, Ziyarid ruler and scholar as founder in AD 1006.

Accounts say the tower influenced various later designers of burial towers and other cylindrical memorial structures both in the region and beyond. The structure topped with an eye-catching conical roof features intricate geometric principles and patterns that embellish parts of its load-bearing masonry.

July 1 is considered an important cultural event for Iranians to celebrate the anniversary of Gonbad-e Qabus’ UNESCO registration, and the annual celebration is organized by the Municipality of Gonbad Kavus.

According to the UN cultural body, the monument testifies to the cultural exchange between the nomads of Central Asia and the ancient Iranian civilization.


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