Gunbad-i Samiran
Samiran, Iran
Located in the Semiran area of Qazvin, these two tomb towers, called "the big tower," and "the small tower," are positioned on the top of a low hill near a Sassanid castle named Ghal'eye Sassan. The smaller tower is located to the southeast of the famous "Emamzadeh-Qasem," and northeast of the bigger tower. The two towers seem to be from the Sassanid era or the early Islamic period in Iran.

The smaller tower, built on a stone platform, is octagonal in plan and measures 3.2 meters on each exterior side. On the interior, each side is 1.9 meters long. Round columns are located on eight corners of the octagon, and brick panels are found between the columns. Each brick panel is divided in half, and the upper parts of the panels have three-leaf-clover brick decorations. A brick dome, no longer extant, formerly covered the structure. The area beneath the dome was decorated with brick and stucco carvings in floral and vegetal patterns.

The larger tower also has an octagonal plan, with each side measuring 6.5 meters on the exterior and 4.25 meters on the interior. This construction is based on a two-meter-high round wall. Stone columns stand on the wall. These are rectangular in plan until they reach one meter in height; thereafter, they transition to a circular form until they reach the base of the dome.

There is a window opening on the east side of this tower, and an entrance portal on the south side containing valuable decorations. Within one of the columns was a staircase that was eighty centimeters wide and led to the roof of the tower. The tower's dome was probably a two-layered, cone-shaped construction, most likely one of the first examples of its kind.


Hazrati, Mohammad Ali. Qazvin: ayinah-yi tarikh va tabiat-i Iran, 65. Qazvin: Awj-i Ustan-i Qazvin ba hamkari-i Nashr-i Hadis-i Imruz, 2003.

Hillenbrand, Robert. Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, and Meaning, 276. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000.

Qazvin Cultural Heritage Organization. Simay-i Miras-i Farhangi-e Qazvin, 87-89. Tehran: Muavinat-i Marifi va muzish, Idarah-i Kull-i Amuzish, Intisharat va Tawlidat-i Farhangi, 2003.

"Small Tomb." Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization. [Accessed June 7, 2006; inaccessible October 31, 2013]
Samiran, Iran
Style Periods
Variant Names
Gunbad-i Samiran
Tomb Towers at Samiran
Tomb Towers at Semiran
Borj-e Koochak va Bozorg-e Semiran
Smiranat Tomb Towers
Building Usages