Built in the early 1930s, Ferdowsi’s Tomb or Mausoleum of Ferdowsi is located in Tus, Iran, 20 km northwest of Mashhad to honor Ferdowsi Tusi, the author of Shah Name (the Book of Kings) that is the national epic of Iran and arguably the most influential work of Persian literature.
Ferdowsi Tusi was born in 940 A.D and died in 1020 in Tus. Though he was a legendary poet, he was not recognized for any of his literary contributions to Persian literature until after his death when his poems won him national and international acclaims.
It was hundreds of years later, at the beginning of the 20th century, when Iran realized Ferdowsi’s critical role in defining the identity of his country, Iran. The first king of Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah, was the one who recognized the cultural and literary value of Ferdowsi and erected a permanent tomb in his honor. It was in 1934, coinciding with the millenary celebration of the poet when the building was opened to public. For this opening ceremony, scholars from Tajikistan, India, Armenia and Europe including Germany, France and England were invited. The scholars from Paris donated some funds which were spent to build a statue of the poet at his tomb site.
Ferdowi’s tomb, originally designed by Hajj Hussein Lurzadeh, was built in the style of the Achaemenid architecture, and is particularly similar to the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae with a Zoroastrian symbol on them both, known as Farvahar. The current structure of the building, however, was designed by Karim Taherzadeh who replaced the old dome with the modern cubical.
The rectangular structure of the tomb is surrounded by a beautiful large garden which is designed in the Persian style of gardening famous as “char-baq”. The white marble edifice in the center of the garden is made of some parts including the wide chamber laying at the base with a cubical erection on top, along with four pillars surrounding it and scenes from the epic of Shah Name and texts that ornate it. Ferdowsi’s body is interred in the center of the rectangular wide chamber underneath the overlying four-pillar cube. There are 12 steps leading from the lowest point of the wide chamber to the level of the cube. The wide base has a total height of 16 m. The edifice has equal dimensions of 30 m on every side.