Barda Turbasi
Barda, Azerbaijan
The tomb tower is located in the village of Barda, which was a town of importance in the tenth century and that later became a favored resort of the Il-Khanid rulers, who held their provincial capital at Maragha. Arabic inscriptions above its two portals announce that the tomb was erected in 1323 (722 A.H.) by builder Ahmad bin Ayyub al-Hafiz of Nakhichevan. Locally, it is also known as the Mausoleum of Ahmad Zocheybana.

The tomb tower is a cylindrical brick structure that stands fourteen meters tall. It has a shallow octagonal base made of four rows of cut-stone and a vaulted crypt. Its inner dome was originally covered with a conical crown decorated with tiles; the current conical roof was added in the second half of the twentieth century. The octagonal dome chamber is entered from two portals facing north and south. Muqarnas hoods crown the arched portal recesses, which are set in frames decorated with bands of geometric motifs and inscriptions made of tile mosaic. Both portals are largely stripped of their decoration.

Inside, the walls are animated with shallow rectangular niches crowned with slightly pointed arches. Pilasters set between the niches reinforce the decagonal shape of the interior. The transition to the inner dome is achieved with three rows of muqarnas squinches.

The exterior of the tomb is covered with a pattern of glazed bricks, composed of the name of God written in Kufic script. Remains of an inscriptive tile band with raised letters envelop the rim, bordered with narrow tile bands with chain motif. The muqarnas cornice above it is also largely damaged.


Aslanapa, Oktay. 1979. Kirim ve Azerbaycan'da Türk Eserleri. Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi, 93-97.

Fatullayev, S.S. and R.S. Babasov. 2005. "Memarliq". Maison d'Azerbaidjan Website.;section=4;section2=4. [Accessed November 2, 2005]

Wilder, Donald N. 1969. The Architecture of Islamic Iran: The Il-Khanid Period. New York: Greenwood Press, 159.

Bosworth, C. E. 1983. "Barda'a". The Encyclopedia of Islam. Leiden: E. J. Brill, I, 779-780.
Barda, Azerbaijan
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1323/722 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Barda Turbasi
Tomb Tower at Barda
Barda Gunbad
Berdaa Tomb Tower
Berde Kümbedi
Building Usages