Soltaniyeh Dome, the largest adobe dome in the world

Soltaniyeh dome, located in the city of Soltaniyeh in Zanjan province, is one of the masterpieces of Iranian architecture during Ilkhanid era. The dome was built between the ages of 704 and 712 AH, on the order of the Mongol king Oljaytu, known as Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh, with the authority of Khaje Rashid al-Din Fazlullah Hamadani. The huge Soltaniyeh dome attracts everyone.

Soltaniyeh view
Soltaniyeh view

Geographical Information of Zanjan Province

Zanjan city is the capital of Zanjan in northwest of Iran and one of the largest cities in northwest of Iran. According to published statistics, it has a population of 416.851 people in 1389 SH, making it 19th city in terms of population. The area of ​​Zanjan is approximately 81 km square and has one of the most unique historical monuments inside such as Soltaniyeh Dome.

Introduction to Soltaniyeh Dome

Soltaniyeh used to be the capital and residence of Iranian princes and is today the tomb of Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh. Famous Soltaniyeh dome which is seen in Tehran-Zanjan route from a distance in wide plain of Soltaniyeh, is a huge and double lap dome that is one of the most unique domes with two beautiful laps.

Soltaniyeh dome
Soltaniyeh dome

Historical information of building

In many historical texts and travelogues, the magnificence of this huge building has been mentioned, and many Western orientalists and archaeologists have emphasized its extraordinary importance. The main body of the dome and its entire building are made of brick and the dome is decorated with turquoise and azure tiles, as if it had a turquoise garment.

In southern part of the dome, there are remnants of a mosque building with plastering on the margin. By careful consideration of this massive building, it seems that in addition to main tomb site which includes the central dome building and is known as Torbat Khan, there is also Mola Hasan Kashi shrine on the site of Soltanieh dome. Molana Hassan ibn Mahmood Kashani Amoli known as Hasan Kashi, was a “mystic poet” and poet of Sultan Muhammad Khodabandeh (Oljaytu) court (683-703 AH). Some argue that it was built around the time of Oljaytu and some believe it to be during the reign of King Tahmaseb Safavid.

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Soltaniyeh history
Soltaniyeh history

Architectural information of building

golden, colorful, and octagonal tiling of Torbat house are remarkably unique and special in the art of tiling. The plan on the ground floor and first floor with the surrounding spaces connected with the dome is rectangle and the the rest of second and third floor has an octagonal plan. The building consists of three spaces of dome, Torbat house and Crypt. The dome of Oljaytu Tomb, with a height of 50.48 meter and a diameter of 40.24 meter is the largest historical dome in Iran and the largest brick dome in the world.

Soltaniyeh inside
Soltaniyeh inside

This dome is the first double-lap dome in the world that there is no older specimen than it. Thickness of dome is 160 cm and the gap between two shells is 60 cm. The dual-lap system of dome can be examined in relation to stationary problems. Due to the high resistance of building in bending and shear anchors, it has made it hollow and invulnerable to earthquake. In dome space, there are 8 heavy walls with a width of 78.6 meters, which transfer the weight of 1600 ton dome to the foundations. The cross-section of each of these bores is calculated at least 50 meters square, and its load is 2 tons. Although San Paolozi stated that there are some similarities between dome of Church Santamaria Delfiori in Florence and Soltaniyeh dome. Here is a chance to state that this beautiful brick building never had the slightest resemblance to any other domes, and essentially had its own unique dome structure. It has no similarities with dome of this church.

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Soltaniyeh dome structure

For the first time in the history of Iranian architecture, the art of tiling has been used at an intricate and detailed level in this tomb. Of course the decorations on this building are two-tiered and various assumptions have been made about this phenomenon. Regarding the use of building as a sundial, it should be noted that light emanating from the main hole of the dome indicates noon time. Light emitting from large windows indicates the clock, and the light of the small windows represents a minute. Soltaniyeh Dome is an octagonal brick building with a diameter of 25 meters. Inside the building, at the junction of both sides, two thick and high columns are built adjacent. Each column is connected by a twig arc to the column at the end of the same side. As a result, there are eight high arches on eight sides of building. The gaps between bows in adjacent arch are covered with bricks. The upper part of arches, the lower bow of dome has been built, and dome leg has been installed on it circular. The building in this section has a circular shape from octagonal shapes. On the leg of dome, the huge dome of building is installed on top of the building. the dome is a double lap, and the distance from the top of the dome to the floor is 52 meters.

Soltaniyeh dome inside

Interior decorations of Soltaniyeh Dome include plaster, mahogany, tile, decorative lines and a variety of brick ornaments. Soltaniyeh dome is a unique collection of the most authentic decorative arts of the earth. On the interior walls of the building, designs are made of blue tile and brick, the words of Allah, Muhammad and Ali, and combination of words Mohammed and Ali and complex geometric combinations of the word Ali.

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Soltaniyeh dome inside
Soltaniyeh dome inside

Concrete was injected into the columns and arches of walls to solidify Soltaniyeh dome during the years 1353 SH and 1354 SH. Soltaniyeh dome is one of the tourist attractions of Zanjan province and is visited annually by a large group of foreign tourists and Iranians interested in Iranian antiquities.

Historical information of the building

Series of architectural and design buildings became known as Abvab al bar during Mongol Ilkhanids. In Zanjan which was one of the capitals of Ilkhanid government, Ghazan Khan and Khawaja Rashid al-Din Fazlallah ordered to build these complexes, and in fact founded such buildings. These buildings were formed by placing the builder tomb in its center. It is evident that Abvab al bar is not just builder tomb, but a collection of monotheistic, scholarly, and intellectual activities.

Reconstruction of Soltaniyeh Dome

people in Zanjan province have not forgotten memories of the day that last mending tiles were installed. The day in which a symbolic ceremony held and head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of the country installed this tile on top of the dome. However only one year after this ceremony, the dome destruction is continued. Reconstruction of Soltaniyeh dome began in the year 1348 Sh. Soltanieh dome was restored in nine periods during this time. It was only a few months ago that finally metal scaffolding dug up around the house. Eventually, the restoration season was over after thirty years. The Soltaniyeh Dome should be given more attention as a world record, but it seems that no one is aware of the significance of the monument. At present, some of the Soltaniyeh dome tiles are falling, and in many parts there is a sharp double color.

Do not miss this architectural masterpiece in your trip to Iran.

Soltaniyeh dome restore
Soltaniyeh dome restore