Scaffolding put up to clear weeds off millennium-old tower

July 25, 2021 - 19:47

TEHRAN – A scaffolding has been installed over the UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus to let workers clear unwanted weeds off the millennium-old brick tower, which stands tall in northern Iran.

Work has commenced removing weeds from the conical roof and body of the UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus, Abdolmajid Nourtaqani said on July 21, CHTN reported.

“Considering the specific material of the building, Gonbad-e Qabus is exposed to the growth of various plants on it, and the reason is the presence of birds that carry seeds with them…,” director of the World Heritage site,” the official explained.

Moreover, experts of the World Heritage site are working on a medium-term plan that includes pathological studies to solve the problem, he added.

The tower was already planned to be sprayed by agricultural drones to get rid of weeds and prevent them from growing, however, it was discarded after local authorities realized that such an approach inflicts serious damage to the mortar and body of the monument.

The tower is of high architectural importance as an exemplar and innovative design of the early-Islamic-era architecture. The UNESCO comments that it bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran.

The UNESCO also credits Gonbad-e Qabus as “an outstanding and technologically innovative example of Islamic architecture that influenced sacral building in Iran, Anatolia, and Central Asia.”

The long-lasting structure capped by an eye-catching conical roof boasts intricate geometric principles and patterns which embellish parts of its load-bearing brickwork.

Two encircling inscriptions in Kufic calligraphy date the tower to 1006-7 CE while commemorating Qabus Ibn Voshmgir, Ziyarid ruler and literati (reigned 978–1012).

Narratives say the tower has influenced various subsequent designers of tomb towers and other cylindrical commemorative structures both in the region and beyond.