Gonbad-e Qabus | Tallest Brick Tower in the World



Brief history and Architecture

Gonbad-e Qabus, the world’s tallest brick tower with 72 meters (236 ft) height (including the height of the foundation) is located in the northern part of Iran in a city called Gonbad Kavus in Golestan province. This historical monument was built by Qabus ibn Wushmagir in 4th AH for his tomb. Gonbad-e Qabus has star-shaped architecture. The well-burned brick, Kafshaki brick and Sarooj (water-resistant mortar) was used as the construction material. The dome has two main parts:
1. The foundation and the body
2. The conical dome
The construction of the foundation began on solid ground and climbed to a height of 15 meters with bricks and similar materials. The cylinder façade is like a 10-pointed star, starting from the base and concluding in the conical roof. The space between the crevices is the same and is filled with bricks. These crevices have 1.34 meter distance from each on top (except the gate). The inner circle has 9.7m diameter. Its diameter height from the bottom of the crevices is 14.66 and from top of the crevices (foundation diameter) is 17.6. The window’s opening is narrowed down from the bottom to the top, and a conical dome that perfects the tower adding to its 37-meter height. The dome is made of special Kafshaki bricks. The conical dome has 18 m height. There is an opening in the eastern body that has 190 cm height.
There is a Muqarnas in its semicircular arched portal which is one of the first ornaments of structures and plaster. This simple yet beautiful Muqarnas is one of the earliest examples of Muqarnas in Islamic buildings which has evolved over time.

Kufi handwritings

In the 8 meters of the bottom of the doom and beneath the conical dome, there are 2 belt-shaped Kufi handwritings. The Kufi handwritings are simple and have been written on a brick. Its brick alphabet frame has no ornament and is prominent and readable. One of the special points in constructing the dome is using scaffold to access the top of the building. This is done by compacting the soil as a spiral and stair around the façade. After the work is completed, all the soil is scattered around the tower.

Mongolian invasion

The dome has suffered a lot of damage throughout history. The foundation, main entrance, brick opening, etc. were heavily damaged. The Mongols invaded the city during the 3rd and 4th century AD and demolished as many buildings as they could, but the only structure survived their plunder was this tower.

The monument was registered on World Heritage List at 36th conference of UNESCO in 2012.

* Written by Sooshia Shamsaei.


Official Website: N/A Entrance fee: 500.000 IRR
Wikipedia: Click here Name(s) in Persian: (گنبد کاووس(قابوس
UNESCO Website: Click herePublic transportation availability: Yes
Province: Golestan Accommodation availability: Hotel Qaboos
Phone: +9817 33225891 Facilities: N/A
Working days: All days Restaurant & Cafe availability: N/A
Opening hours: 7:30 AM-8:00 PMBest time to visit: Spring and Summer

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