Excavations to restart at Soltanieh after decade-long halt

April 19, 2020 - 19:12

TEHRAN – Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Ministry is slated to resume archaeological excavations at the UNESCO-tagged Soltanieh Dome and its surroundings after a decade-long halt. 

While tourist sites are on lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak in the country and there are no visitors, archeologists can work in the site considering health protocols and social distancing, manager of the site Mir-Musa Aniran said on Sunday, ILNA reported.

Meanwhile, several videos, photos, and video clips have been produced to be streamed on social media for online visitors, he added. 

The 14th-century Soltanieh Dome, locally known as Gonbad-e (“The Dome of”) Soltaniyeh, is highly recognized as an architectural masterpiece particularly due to its innovative double-shelled dome and elaborate interior decoration. The monument is, in fact, the mausoleum of Oljaitu, also known as Muhammad Khodabandeh, who was the eighth Ilkhanid dynasty ruler from 1304 to 1316.

According to UNESCO, the mausoleum’s interior decoration is so outstanding that scholars like A.U. Pope has described the richly-ornamented building as “anticipating the Taj Mahal”.

The UN cultural body has it that the Mausoleum of Oljaytu is an essential link and key monument in the development of Islamic architecture in central and western Asia. The fairly large dome is the earliest extant example of its type in the country and became an important reference for the later development of the Islamic dome.


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