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Sultaniya: Tomb of Oljeitu, 1305-1313

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Sultaniya: Tomb of Oljeitu, 1305-1313
Author(s): Pope, Arthur Upham
Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Mediaeval architecture;architecture;book scan
Description: By the command of Oljeitu (1304-1316) there arose on the open meadows of Sultaniya a wonder city planned to be the imperial capital. Begun in 1305 and dedicated in 1313, it was built magnificently as well as rapidly. About the size of Tabriz, it was dominated by Oljeitu's mausoleum, one of Persia's supreme architectural achievements. At one time it was planned to receive the bodies of Ali and Hussein, early saints revered by Persian Shi'ites, but Oljeitu's conversion to the Sunni branch helped make this impossible. Octagonal in form, rising to dome 177 feet high and 80 feet diameter, it was solidly covered with light blue faience tile. It rests on a wide and rich stalactite cornice and a gleaming blue-patterned minaret rises from each of the eight angles, framing the dome like a diadem. The second-storey galleries open outward, anticipating e.g. Taj Mahal. Imposing scale provides for interior of ample and majestic space. 8 huge, soaring arches make 25-foot-thick walls less conspicuous. Mediated by shallow stalactites, the angles between these arches seem to melt quietly into the circular base of the enormous dome. All components are fused into a unity of serene grandeur. The tribunes let in an abundance of well diffused light and their railings, horizontal, measure and enhance the strong verticality of the other forms. (Continued on next card)
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-4319


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