Saturday, December 5, 2009

Radkan Tower

The Radkan Tower is located near the Radkan village, 24 kilometers south of Kordkooy and 54 kilometers southwest of Gorgan. It is situated on a hill and constructed on simple lines. This hill is situated in the southern foothills of the Alborz mountain range, near the valleys of Neka River, which flows from east to west. This brick structure rises to a height of 35 meters and displays artistic affects and with two Kufic inscriptions on which the name of the founder and date of the start (1016) and completion (1020) of construction can be noted. Some Pahlavi script is also visible.

The dome is bi-coated and conical in shape. Radkan Tower's interior design is plastered and with a simple appearance. Brick, plaster and lime, all are applied in the entire pillar. The whole structure has been built of bricks similar to that of the Gonbad Kavoos Tower. Its main entrance is crescent shaped and on its southern side. Initially, due to its geographic location on top of a hill and at the intersection of roads, it was constructed as a guide for visitors and travelers (along with Lajim and Resket Towers). It later became the resting place of one of the ancient commanders of the Bavand Dynasty.

At certain intervals are openings along the body of the Tower which were assumed to be to hold the scaffolds n place at the time of construction. However, Archeoastronomer Manochehr Arian has found solstice and equinox alignments for this structure and its openings, suggesting a sophisticated observation of the sky going back 800 years or more.

When observing the 12 walls of the structure, one notices that at precisely sunrise of the first day or winter and sunset of the first day summer sunlight shines through one door and exits the other door on the opposite side. Furthermore there are exactly 12 openings which each would correspond to a month of the year. As we approach spring, the light from one of such openings gradually drops and approaches the top of one of the doors and ultimately exits through the door on the first day of spring.

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