Restoration project starts on ramparts, corner towers and gateway to UNESCO-tagged Soltaniyeh Dome

June 19, 2020 - 23:52

TEHRAN – The mudbrick ramparts and corner towers of a southern gateway to the UNESCO-tagged Soltaniyeh Dome in northwestern Zanjan province are under some rehabilitation works, CHTN reported. 

The restoration project began in late May and it is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer, while reviving the southern ramparts and its inscriptions were initially commenced in previous years, provincial tourism chief Amir Arjmand said on Friday. 

The project aims at restoring the grandeur of the historical site, which is one of the top architectural and cultural attractions of the province, he added. 

A new passageway will be inaugurated as part of the project to facilitate visits to the site, the official added. 

The 14th-century 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 very imposing dome stands about 50 meters tall from its base. Covered with turquoise-blue faience tiles, the stunning structure dominates the skyline of Soltaniyeh, an ancient city in Zanjan province, north-western Iran.

Meaning “Town of the Sultans”, Soltaniyeh was briefly the capital of Persia’s Ilkhanid dynasty (a branch of the Mongol dynasty) during the 14th century.

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 have described the 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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