Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great Mosque of Samarra’s Malwiya Minaret

Many people mistakenly identify this building as the Tower of Babel, which looks much different.  Others call is the Great Mosque of Samarra, which is closer, but still not 100% true. The true name is the Malwiya Minaret, which was part of what was the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq. Microsocms made metal replicas in a gold finish in the 1990’s and then later made solid bronze versions on a marble base.  A few places sell plastic / resin replicas.  Radafian bank also made a metal coin bank version. A spiraling conical design rising 52 meters high, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra is the most prominent structure remaining of a mosque that was once the largest in the world. Called the
‘malwiya’ or the snail shell minaret, this 180-foot tower was the main focal point of the mosque, which covered 42 acres at its peak. The minaret was originally connected to the mosque by a bridge. In the mid-9th century, the great work was commissioned by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil who allegedly rode a white donkey up the spiraling paths to the top. Constructed of sandstons between 848 – 852, it is because of its ascending spiral conical design. The word "malwiya" translates as "twisted" or "snail shell" and was used for the call to prayer. Over time, the mosque was slowly destroyed and fell into disuse by the 11th century after the Hulagu Khan invasion of Iraq. Only the outer wall and its minaret remain.

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