Great Mosque of Samarra
|Great Mosque of Samarra|
Arabic: جَامِع سَامَرَّاء ٱلْكَبِيْر
مَسْجِد سَامَرَّاء ٱلْكَبِيْر
ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْجَامِع فِي سَامَرَّاء
The spiral minaret of the mosque
|Ecclesiastical or organisational status||Mosque and shrine|
|Date established||848 CE|
|Minaret height||52 metres (171 ft)|
|Official name||Samarra Archaeological City|
|Criteria||Cultural: ii, iii, iv|
|Inscription||2007 (31st session)|
|Area||15,058 hectares (37,210 acres)|
|Buffer zone||31,414 hectares (77,630 acres)|
The Great Mosque of Samarra (Arabic: جَامِع سَامَرَّاء ٱلْكَبِيْر, romanized: Jāmiʿ Sāmarrāʾ Al-Kabīr, Arabic: مَسْجِد سَامَرَّاء ٱلْكَبِيْر, romanized: Masjid Sāmarrāʾ Al-Kabīr, or Arabic: ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْجَامِع فِي سَامَرَّاء, romanized: Al-Masjid Al-Jāmiʿ fī Sāmarrāʾ, lit. 'The Great Mosque in Samarra') is a mosque from the 9th century CE located in Samarra, Iraq. The mosque was commissioned in 848 and completed in 851 by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil who reigned (in Samarra) from 847 until 861. The mosque is located within the 15,058-hectare (37,210-acre) Samarra Archaeological City UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed in 2007.
The Great Mosque of Samarra was, for a time, the largest mosque in the world; its minaret, the Malwiya Tower, is a spiralling cone 52 metres (171 ft) high and 33 metres (108 ft) wide with a spiral ramp. The reign of al-Mutawakkil had a great effect on the appearance of the city, for he seemed to have been a lover of architecture, and the one responsible for building the great Mosque of Samarra. In a list of his building projects which appears in several different versions, the new Congregational Mosque and up to twenty palaces are mentioned, totalling between 258 and 294 million dirhams. The new Congregational Mosque, with its spiral minaret, built between 849 (235 AH) and 851 (235 AH), formed part of an extension of the city to the east, extending into the old hunting park.
The mosque had 17 aisles, and its walls were paneled with mosaics of dark blue glass. It was part of an extension of Samarra eastwards. The art and architecture of the mosque were influential; stucco carvings within the mosque in floral and geometric designs represent early Islamic decoration. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Egypt, was based on the Samarra Mosque in many regards and similarly stands in a large open space.
Al-Minārat al-Malwiyyah (Arabic: المنارة الملوية, "The Twisted Minaret" or "The Snail Shell Minaret") was originally connected to the mosque by a bridge. The minaret or tower was constructed in 848–852 of sandstone, and is unique among other minarets because of its ascending spiral conical design. 52 metres (171 ft) high and 33 metres (108 ft) wide at the base, the spiral contains stairs reaching to the top.
The height of the Malwiyyah made it practical to be used for the adhan (call to prayer). It is visible from a considerable distance in the area around Samarra and therefore may have been designed as a strong visual statement of the presence of Islam in the Tigris Valley.
The minaret's unique spiral design is said by some to be derived from the architecture of the Mesopotamian ziggurats. Some consider the influence of the Pillar of Gor, built in the Sasanian Empire, more prominent.
In 2005 the top of the Malwiya minaret was bombed. The famous minaret was partially destroyed by insurgents. Nearly 1000 years after it had been built it finally began to crumble because of today's weapons. Many different stories and theories exist as why to the minaret was bombed. Some people state that it was to directly attack the United States forces while others say that it was to cause internal chaos within the country. Since this happened it has shortened the lifespan of the minaret.
The minaret's spiral shape inspired Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Philip Johnson's design for the 1976 Chapel of Thanksgiving at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas, in the United States. The minarets of a prominent United Arab Emirates mosque, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Mosque in Al Ain, have been also been inspired by this minaret.
Minaret of Abu Dulaf Mosque, also in Samarra, Iraq
Minaret of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Chapel of Thanksgiving at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas, built in 1976
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Great mosque, Samarra, was built during the caliphate of al-Mutawakkil. It is the largest mosque in the world. Built entirely of brick within a wall flanked with towers, it has a 55 m high minaret with a spiral ramp that recalls the ziggurats of Mesopotamia
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Great Mosque of Samarra.|
- The Great Mosque, Samarra, Iraq
- "Samarra Archaeological City". World Heritage Site. UNESCO. 2019.
- Photo of The Great Mosque
- Photo and information
- Photos, floor plans, and information
- Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Series 7: Records of Samarra Expeditions, Great Mosque of al-Mutawakkil Collections Search Center, S.I.R.I.S., Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Series 7: Records of Samarra Expeditions, 1906-1945 Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Washington, DC