The tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini is located to the south of Tehran near the cemetery of Behesht-e Zahra (the Paradise of Zahra). Construction commenced in 1989 and when completed the tomb will be the centerpiece of a 5000 acre development. Included in the proposal is a university for Islamic studies, a seminary, and a shopping mall. A large plaza leads to the shrine, which covers a vast rectangular space designed to accommodate great numbers of pilgrims. Given its scale, the inclusion of a qibla wall and a maqsura the tomb resembles a mosque. Entrance is through a main security foyer.
The sarcophagus of the late Imam is centrally placed under a gilded dome. The dome sits on a transition zone with two layers of clerestories decorated with stained glass tulips, the symbol of martyrdom. 8 massive marble columns circling the sarcophagus support the dome and other more slender columns support the space-frame ceiling, which is also articulated with clerestories. Floor and wall surfaces are polished marble. The sarcophagus itself is housed in a glass chamber with a metal grilled enclosure.
The exterior of the shrine complex is a highly recognizable landmark, with a gold dome on a high drum and four free-standing minarets.
Rizvi, Kishwar. 2003. Religious Icon and National Symbol: The Tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. In Muqarnas Volume XX: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture. Gulru Necipoglu, ed. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Wright, Robin. 2000. The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran. New York: A.A. Knopf.