Dome of Soltaniyeh
The Dome of Soltaniyeh is mostly known for being the biggest brick dome in the world, but it actually is the Mausoleum of Ilkhan Oljaytu. It is located in Soltaniyeh city, 30 KM far from Zanjan city and in the road of Zanjan-Qazvin. It’s an octagonal building and each side is about 80 meters. It’s the 3rd biggest dome in the world. It was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage in 2005. Soltaniyeh city used to be the capital in IL khanate dynasty.
The construction began between the years 1302 to 1312 AD, and it is the first dome in Iran which has two shells. Regarding the size of this dome, it’s the biggest sized dome after Florence cathedral and Hagia Sophia. Unfortunately, lots of exterior decorations are damaged but it is famous for the decorations of inside especially under the main dome with absolute beautiful mosaics.
The exterior view of the dome has been viewed with old scaffoldings for a long time. It is said that they will be replaced by some new modern equipment.
Oljaytu was eager to build a mausoleum for the first Imam of Shiite because of his personal love and respect to him, but in Islam nobody is permitted to do exhumation. So finally, it was him buried in the Soltaniyeh. Of course, this is just a theory and some researchers disagree with it.
The structure is about 50 meters high and as it seems, it is super heavy! Something about 200 tons! Different parts are joined with wooden beams to reduce the dead load. But the amazing point is that the foundation is only 90 centimeters high! Although the structure has been damaged during years and needs some equipment like scaffolding, it still stands and has resisted against 300 earthquakes since constructions.