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Kharraqan Twin Towers



Kharraqan Twin Towers



Kharaghan Twin Tower 1


Kharraqan Twin Towers with more than fifty brickworks design is considered a masterpiece in Iran’s architecture.

Kharraqan Towers are mausoleums that, according to its inscription, were built in 1093 CE. Located on the plans near Qazvin city, they house the tomb of two Seljuk Princes, Abu Saeed Bijar, son of Sa’d, and Abu Mansour Iltai, son of Takin, which are built 90 feet apart. The inscription on the tower identified the architecys as Mohammad ibn Makki Al-Zanjani and Abul-Ma’ali ibn Makki Al-Zanjani, who is probably the former’s son or brother.

The brick structures are 15 meters tall and 4 meters wide, which are built with geometrical precision. There are paintings and a lamp inside the older mausoleum. Both have a non-conic two-layered dome; the exterior domes have not survived. Both towers have octagonal chambers with engaged pilasters (a rectangular column projecting from a wall) at every corner.


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Each of the eight façades of the two Towers is adorned with a decorative panel. Each Tower is made of thick brick walls on which decorative brick panels have been attached.The eastern Tower has a northeast facing entrance while the western Tower’s entrance is to the north. Two of the buttresses at the eastern Tower contain spiraling staircases within them. This is different at the western Tower where only one buttress contains a staircase. The common feature of the panels in both Towers is a decorative niche flanked by a pair of slender columns.

Framed by the corner buttresses, these panels are minor variations of the same decorative theme. In the western tower, the panel within the niche has been divided into two parts by three small, slightly protruding, arched niches. The top and bottom parts of the panel have been decorated differently with carrying patterns. In the eastern Tower, built first, these panels have left intact and only include one pattern per panel. All panels are distinguished by a different decorative pattern, but are unified in their use of a brick until as the primary constructive element.


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The interior, also octagonal, is covered with plaster. Inside the chamber of the eastern Tower can be found illustrations that are among some of the most well-preserved examples of early Seljuk mural painting. One of the illustrations, framed by a keel-shaped arch on the lower side of the interior walls, is a depiction of a mosque lamp hanging with three chains and is inscribed in Kific, “Blessing to its owner”. The other illustration is a stylized design of birds sitting on the branches of a pomegranate tree.

Both Towers were significantly damaged by earthquakes. These were in a good state of preservation prior to the rupture, suggesting it was one of the most powerful in the region for approximately 900 years. Although the Manavi, Aladdin, and Taher Shrines were also destroyed in the quake, a paramount importance has been attached to Kharraqan Towers due to their antiquity and unique brick works decorations.


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Estimate shows that the Twin Towers took 50 percent damage and the dome of them totally collapsed while the other has lost its stability. Large and serious cracks had developed on the body of the two towers, large parts collapsed and brick works decorations sustained damages and partially destroyed. As of 2007 the domes of the Towers had been completely restored and just restoration of their decorative design remained.