Soltaniyeh: The Largest Brick Dome in Iran

ToIranTour - Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh Dome

ToIranTour - Soltaniyeh Dome
Photo by Jamshydf on Wikimedia

Located in the ancient city of Soltaniyeh, the Soltaniyeh Dome is a shining example of Persian-Islamic architecture. Built by Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh during the reign of the Ilkhanid dynasty from 1302 to 1312, this dome is renowned as the largest brick dome in the world.

Designed in the Azari style, the dome reflects the evolution of Persian-Islamic architecture from the Seljuk era to the peak of the Ilkhanid dynasty. Its remarkable structure is predominantly made of bricks, showcasing the ingenuity of ancient craftsmen. Recognized for its cultural significance, the Soltaniyeh complex was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2005, preserving the rich heritage of Iran for generations to come.

Soltaniyeh Dome History

Soltaniyeh Dome’s story begins with Mohammad Sultan Khodabandeh, the Mongol leader of Zanjan, who ordered its construction. Work on this impressive dome started in the early 14th century and lasted for over a decade under the supervision of Khajeh Rashid al-Din Fazlullah Hamedani.

Originally meant as a tomb for Sultan Mohammad before his conversion to Islam, the dome became known for its unique design and striking turquoise colors. Even after Zanjan ceased to be the Ilkhans’ capital following Sultan Mohammad’s death, the dome’s allure attracted visitors from all corners of Iran and beyond. Travelers were drawn not only to its beauty but also to the rich history embedded within its walls, echoing the stories of those who once rested there.

Ilkhanid Dynasty

In Iran’s history, the Ilkhanid Dynasty, led by the Mongols, left a big mark, especially with their capital city, Soltaniyeh, during Oljaytu’s rule. Soltaniyeh was not just a city; it was the center of everything for the Ilkhanids – where they ran the empire, practiced religion, and did business.

Soltaniyeh was like a bustling city filled with ideas and creativity. One of its most impressive sights was the Dome of Soltaniyeh, showing off the Ilkhanids’ amazing building skills and their mix of Persian and Mongol influences.

Let’s take a trip back in time to explore the amazing legacy of the Ilkhanid Empire in Soltaniyeh. This city was a melting pot of cultures and talents, and the dome is a perfect example of that. Join us as we uncover the secrets of this historical gem and learn more about the brilliant minds behind its creation.

Soltaniyeh Dome Architecture

ToIranTour - Soltaniyeh Dome Architecture
Photo by Elaheabed on Wikimedia

The Soltaniyeh Dome is a true wonder of Iranian and Islamic architecture, standing tall and proud amidst lush green plains. Its impressive Islamic dome, towering at 54 meters high and 25 meters wide, shines like a beautiful turquoise jewel from afar.

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a world of intricate beauty. The minarets surrounding the dome spark curiosity—are they for calling to prayer or for protection during earthquakes? Inside, shades of blue paint a mesmerizing picture, with delicate arches, grand windows, and spiraling staircases leading the way. The stunning double-walled dome, adorned with gold and turquoise, tells tales of the skilled hands that built it.

Over the years, the dome has been carefully restored to keep its charm alive. As scaffolding stands inside, a reminder of ongoing work, visitors marvel at its grandeur. Recognized by UNESCO and cherished by people worldwide, this dome isn’t just a building—it’s a timeless treasure, inviting us all to admire its beauty.

Soltaniyeh Dome Architecture and Religion

The Islamic Dome of Soltaniyeh isn’t just a fancy building; it’s a symbol of how religion and architecture can come together. Built during a time when Shi’ism was becoming more important, especially under Oljaytu, this dome shows us how faith and design can blend in a special way.

Look closely at the patterns and writings on the dome, and you’ll see hints of Shi’a beliefs. Each little design or word tells a story of what people believed back then, making the dome more than just a pretty sight—it’s a place where religion and art meet.

When the sun shines on the dome, it’s like uncovering a treasure trove of spiritual ideas. It’s not just about the dome being a cool building; it’s about how it reminds us of the power of faith and how buildings can speak to our hearts. With its tall, majestic shape reaching for the sky, the dome stands as a reminder of the beauty and meaning that religion adds to our world.

So next time you see a building like this dome, remember that it’s not just about bricks and mortar—it’s a window into the soul of a people and their beliefs, a testament to the enduring connection between faith and the human spirit.

Soltaniyeh Skylights

The Islamic dome’s architecture is truly special. It’s got these cool skylight windows that are like ancient sun clocks, but with a religious twist. Plus, it’s the first place ever to use two-shelled domes in building design. And get this—it’s the third tallest dome in the whole world, just after the ones in Florence and Istanbul.

On the outside, the dome is covered in these gorgeous blue and marquetry tiles that make it stand out. And inside? It’s like stepping into a treasure chest of decorations! There are paintings on the walls, fancy lattice brickwork, and all sorts of wooden and stony designs. They even used plaster and brick to create these funky muqarnas. Oh, and don’t forget the Qur’anic inscriptions—they add a special touch of spirituality to the whole place.

Soltaniyeh Dome Main Parts

ToIranTour - Soltaniyeh Dome Main Parts
Photo by Jb-mhr on Wikimedia

Torbat Khaneh

As you step into this location, prepare to be amazed by its wonders. One such marvel is Torbat Khaneh, tucked away on the southern side. Stretching 17 meters long, 8 meters wide, and reaching 16 meters high, it’s quite a sight! But there’s more to it than just its size. Torbat Khaneh holds a special significance—it’s made with soil from the holy shrine, adding a spiritual touch to every brick. Crafted by Öljaitü, this part features intricate writings in Kufic and Thuluth script, honoring Husayn ibn Ali shrine’s legacy.


Below Torbat Khaneh lies Sardabeh, a solemn chamber. Here rests Öljaitü, in a humble space that pays tribute to his memory. But there’s another part worth noting—the grand Gonbad Khaneh. Soaring 50 meters high, it’s a symbol of strength against time’s trials. Its double shell structure stands tall, defying even earthquakes. Inside, lightwells mark the passage of time, reminding us of the Dome’s rich history.

Gonbad Khaneh

Gonbad Khaneh is the crown jewel of Soltaniyeh Dome’s architecture. This part boasts a dome with two layers, reaching an impressive height of 50 meters. But what makes it truly special is its ability to withstand earthquakes, thanks to its double-shell design. Inside, you’ll find small windows called lightwells, which acted like clocks back in the day, adding a cozy glow to the dome’s interior and telling stories of its past.

FAQs about Soltaniyeh

Q1: What is the structure of Soltaniyeh Dome?

A1: The dome is a special that is made of two layers joined together, with the outer layer using a Shabdary-e-Tond arch style and the inner layer using a Gous-e-Mazedar (Bastoo arch) style.

Q2: Who was the architect of the Dome of Soltaniyeh?

A2: The dome was constructed in the year 703 AH by the command of Oljaito (Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh). It has an octagonal shape and was designed by Fazlullah Hamedani, who was a minister during the Ilkhanid period.

Q3: What is the largest dome in Iran?

A3: The Soltaniyh dome is famous for its huge size, clever design, and beautiful tile decorations. It’s one of the biggest domes made of bricks globally and is seen as a brilliant example of Persian architecture.

Q4: When was the Soltaniyeh Dome built?

A4: Construction of the dome began in 1302 and lasted for about a decade, concluding in 1312.

Q5: Why is the Soltaniyeh Dome important?

A5: The dome is significant for its status as the largest brick dome in the world, its cultural importance, and its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2005.

Last Words: Experience the Best of Soltaniyeh with a Customized Tour

The Soltaniyeh Dome, found in the old city of Soltaniyeh, is a big example of Persian-Islamic architecture. It was built by Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh from 1302 to 1312. This dome is famous because it’s the largest brick dome ever. It’s made in the Azari style, showing Persian-Islamic design changes over time. Most of it is bricks, showing how smart the builders were. It got added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2005, protecting Iran’s history for the future.

If you’re excited to discover the wonders of Soltaniyeh, Iran is waiting to welcome you with open arms. But to truly enjoy your time there, it’s best to go on a trip customized just for you. At To Iran Tour, we’re experts at creating trips that match what you want to see and do. Whether you’re crazy about history and can’t wait to see the ancient buildings, or you’re a big foodie and want to try all the tasty dishes in Iran, we’ve got you covered.

Let us be your guide as you explore the magic of this dome and beyond in Iran.

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