Volunteers prepare UNESCO-registered Soltaniyeh, surroundings for Noruz

March 13, 2021 - 18:47

TEHRAN –The UNESCO-tagged Soltaniyeh Dome and its surroundings in northwestern Zanjan province have been cleaned by some locals and history buffs in preparation for the Iranian New Year, which begins on March 21. 

It is a cultural and symbolic movement that has taken place in historical sites across the country since 2016 to welcome Noruz, the provincial tourism chief has said. 

The project’s objective is to create culture and to encourage members of local communities, non-governmental organizations, and citizens to take part in preserving and protecting historical monuments, Amir Arjmand announced on Saturday. 

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the cleaning project wasn’t undertaken last year, but this year in collaboration with NGOs, the project was conducted under strict health protocols to strengthen social vitality and hope, the official added. 

Dominating the skyline, 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 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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