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When you are travelling on the new highway from Qazvin to Zanjan, you should make a stop at Sultanieh, the town of Sultans, to see one of the most impressive buildings in Iran.

The mausoleum of Oljaitu was built by the Mongols in the 13th and 14th Century to celebrate they had done such a good job destructing Iran.

It was founded by Arghun Khan and his sons Ghazan and Oljaitu as a mausoleum for Ali and Hossein, the first and third Imams of the Shi'ite belief. Unfortunately for them, Najaf, the city where the bodies were kept, refused to give them up. So, they were left with a large mausoleum but nobody to occupy it and Oljaitu became the only one to be buried here.

Mausoleum of Oljaitu, general view

See how big it is

At first, the building doesn't look very big, until you compare its size with the man standing in one of the window portals. It is 53 meter high and 25 meter in diameter. The dome has a size of 54 meters and is one of the biggest in the world.
Some information about other large dome constructions, was contributed to us by Darlene Kritzman. She has been doing research on the Roman Pantheon.

Roman Pantheon - 43 m
St. Peter's - 42 m
El Duomo, Florence - 39 m 
Bijapur - 37 m
Blue Mosque - 34 m
St. Paul's - 33 m
Hagia Sophia - 30 m
Sultanieh - 25 m.

Like a work of art


They're working on the restoration of the mausoleum, both the outside as well as the inside are crammed with scaffolding. This prevents a good view of the dome from the inside, but the scaffolding itself is like a work of art and is worth a picture.

There is a stairway that leads up to the galleries. On these galleries, one inside and one outside, you can walk around the mausoleum and stare at the wonderful brickwork, painted panels, mosaics there are to be seen here.


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