Gunbad-i Chihil Dukhtaran
Damghan, Iran
Built in the year 1054-55, this monument is the second oldest remaining tomb structure from the time of Tughril Beg (1040-1063), the first Seljuk monarch. It is located in the center of the city behind the Imamzadeh Ja'far mausoleum complex.

The tomb has a cylindrical chamber entered from the north. An elongated dome covers the structure. The chamber walls taper inward towards the top. Unlike the tombs in Maragheh, this structure does not have a crypt. This is consistent with earlier tombs that also did not have crypts.

The exterior decoration for the tomb is concentrated just below the dome and at the entrance. While the lower section of the tomb is laid in plain brickwork, six decorative bands adorn the top. These include two identical bands with swastika and triangle motifs that frame a wider band of Kufic inscriptions. Within the writing can be found the name of the patron of the monument, Amir Abu Shuja Asfar. Above, there is a sawtooth cornice and a band of diamonds that provide the base for the dome.

The entryway is set in a small niche that is flanked by two thick columns and crowned by a semi-vault and a pointed arch. The boundaries of the niche form a tall rectangular frame. The inner lining of the pointed arch has an Arabic inscription written in Kufic style that gives the name of the patron for the second time. The tympanum of the arch is filled with brickwork in zigzag pattern.

The round interior of the burial chamber is covered with plaster.

Sources:

Hatim, Ghulam Ali. Mimari-i Islami-i Iran dar dawrah-i Saljuqian, 107. Tehran: Muassasah-i Intisharat-i Jihad-i Danishgahi, 2000.

Daneshvari, Abbas. "A Stylistic and Iconographic Study of the Persian Tomb Towers of the Seljuk Period." PhD diss., University of California, 1977.
Location
Damghan, Iran
Images & Videos
Associated Collections
Events
1054-55/446 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Gunbad-i Chihil Dukhtaran
Gumbad-i Chihil Dukhtaran
Alternate transliteration
Chihil Dukhtaran Gunbad
Variant
Forty Maids Tomb Tower
Translated
Chihil Dukhteran
Variant
Building Usages
tomb
funerary