Introduction to Haruniyeh Monument
Khorasan has been the site of many events throughout the history of Persia, and in those distant times, the city that we call Mashhad today was called Tous. Haruniyeh Monument is one of the oldest monuments in Tous, located near the tomb of Ferdowsi and also the tomb of the great mystic Imam Muhammad-i Ghazali. Such an unknown work is one of the legendary buildings full of mystery; many researchers and experts have been investigating it for many years to discover its secrets and function. The building’s unfamiliarity has caused more tourists to be attracted to visit the place with more curiosity. Haruniyeh is also popularly known as Haruniyeh Tomb, Haruniyeh Dome and Harun Tomb.
History of Haruniyeh Monument
There is no evidence and documents regarding the history and chronicle of the monument; no archaeologist or historian has yet succeeded in telling the exact date of the magnificent monument’s construction. As we have said, Haruniyeh Monument has a vague history and has placed many secrets hidden in its heart. Some experts date the structure to the seventh and eighth centuries, and some believe it was built before Islam. There are many legends among ordinary people about the function of the building, they believe that it was built in the time of Harun Al-Rashid and he used the tomb to imprison criminals; however, the truth is that Harun Al-Rashid goes to Khorasan to suppress the protests of the people, but during the trip, he falls ill and dies in Tous, so he never had the opportunity to order the construction of a building like Haruniyeh. On the other hand, due to the similarity of the architectural style with Razi architecture (A type of Persian Architecture), the construction is considered to belong to the sixth century AH. A 1975 excavation of the building found pottery from the Seljuk, Timurid, and Safavid periods, also a very thick layer of stone and mortar reminiscent of Sassanid fire temples. According to the founded relics, it seems Haruniyeh’s history dates back to much earlier than the sixth century. But what all scholars agree on is that Haruniyeh was built after the Mongol invasion of Persia and during the patriarchal period, 8th AH, some parts have been added to it during the Timurid period as well. Such a hypothesis is closer to the truth because if the building had been architectured before the event, it would have been destroyed like other significant ones.
Travelogues and writings of domestic and foreign tourists and researchers from a hundred years ago to the present show that only people in ancient times first called the building Naqara Khaneh, then, it was called Harun Prison, Harun Dome, and Haruniyeh. In some sources, the building is mentioned as Ghazali Tomb and Tous Mosque.
Architecture of Haruniyeh Tomb
The Haruniyeh tomb contains four corners with four spiral stairs on each. The spectacular building is made entirely of brick without any tile decorations. The dome, like other domes in Persian historical constructions, consists of two shells. Inside the dome is large and open-hearted besides muqarnas works that are relics from the Timurid period. The monument has only one entrance, which is in the southern part of the building. The portico embellishments at the entrance are also made of brick without any colour appearance. The interior contains a porch, lattice windows, four royal residences, a dome, and three side rooms that are well exposed to visitors. The exterior also includes a small memorial stone to Imam Muhammad al-Ghazali and a large rectangular garden in front of the Haruniyeh porch. Another noteworthy feature of the monument is the presence of arches as well as skylights that scatter sunlight in the best way and make it look more stunning inside the building. In recent years, with the help of the Khorasan National and Cultural Heritage Organization, a fence has been erected around the building plus considering a green space.