Qala-e No Burj: HQ of Turquoise Mountain

18 May 2007 / 28 Saur 1386

“Qala” means ‘walled compound;’ “no burj” means ‘nine towers.’ I have visited the headquarters of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation (TMF) several times. But on this particular evening, the light on the partially-ruined complex was remarkable.

sky above Qala-e No Burj

Of the nine towers, only one remains intact. One of the ruined towers is visible on the right, clearly built using pakhsa construction. In this technique, courses of adobe are laid down in 60-cm deep layers; allowed to dry, and then the next course is added.


The massive, white-washed wall with high windows reminds me of the Potala in Lhasa. The one intact tower is visible on the left.


The light behind the qala was exquisite.

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In the photo on the left, the wall was re-topped with adobe, leaving the streak-pattern over the older whitewash. On the right, the ruined tower looks like something out of Mordor.


A girl was also watching the sunset, and then she saw me (another foreigner at TMF) taking pictures. She was amused that I photographed her as well.

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