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For the mountain formation, see Minarets marker.


Minarets ( , from Arabic manāra (lighthouse) منارة, usually مئذنة) are distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques. Minarets are generally tall spires with onion-shaped or conical crowns, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure.

Functions



As well as providing a visual cue to a Muslim community, the main function of the minaret is to provide a vantage point from which the call to prayer (adhan) is made. Call to prayer in Islam happens five times each day. These times are at sunrise, noon, day, sundown, and evening.In most modern mosques, the adhan is called not from the minaret but from the musallah, or prayer hall, via a microphone and speaker system.

Minarets also function as air conditioning mechanisms: as the sun heats the dome, air is drawn in through open windows then up and out of the minaret, thereby providing natural ventilation.

History

The earliest mosques were built without minarets, the adhan (call to prayer) was performed elsewhere; hadiths relay that the Muslim community of Madina gave the call to prayer from the roof of the house of Muhammad, which doubled as a place for prayer.Around 80 years after Muhammad's death the first known minarets appeared.

Minarets have been described as the "gate from heaven and earth", and as the Arabic language letter alif (which is a straight vertical line).

The world's tallest minaret (at 210 metres) is located at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablancamarker, Moroccomarker The world's tallest brick minaret is Qutub Minarmarker located in Delhimarker, Indiamarker. There are two 230 metre tall minarets under construction in Tehranmarker, Iranmarker.

In some of the oldest mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Damascusmarker, minarets originally served as illuminated watchtowers (hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light").

Construction

Minarets basic form consist of three parts: a base, shaft, and a gallery. For the base, the ground is excavated until a hard foundation is reached. Gravel and other supporting materials may be used as a foundation; it is unusual for the minaret to be built directly upon ground-level soil. Minarets may be conical (tapering), square, cylindrical, or polygonal (faceted). Stairs circle the shaft in a counter-clockwise fashion, providing necessary structural support to the highly elongated shaft. The gallery is a balcony which encircles the upper sections from which the muezzin may give the call to prayer. It is covered by a roof-like canopy and adorned with ornamentation, such as decorative brick and tile work, cornice, arches and inscriptions, with the transition from the shaft to the gallery typically sporting muqarnas. Originally plain in style, a minaret's origin in time can be determined by its level of ostentation.

Local styles

Styles and architecture can vary widely according to region and time period. Here are a few styles and the localities from which they derive:

Turkishmarker (11th century)
1, 2, 4 or 6 minarets related to the size of the mosque. Slim, circular minarets of equal cross-section are common.
Egyptmarker (7th century) / Syriamarker (until 13th century)
Low square towers sitting at the four corners of the mosque.
Iraqmarker
For a free-standing conical minaret surrounded by a spiral staircase, see Malwiyamarker.
Egyptmarker (15th century)
Octagonal. Two balconies, the upper smaller than the lower, projecting mukarnas, surmounted by an elongated finial.
Persia (17th century)
Generally two pairs of slim, blue tile clad towers flanking the mosque entrance, terminating in covered balconies.
Tatar (18th century): A sole minaret is used, placed at the centre of a gabled roof.
Moroccomarker: Typically a single square minaret. A notable exception is the octagonal minaret located in Chefchaouenmarker.
Indiamarker: Octagonal, generally three balconied, with the upper most roofed by an onion dome and topped by a small finial.


Examples

Image:Tower of the Great Mosque of Kairouan.JPG|Minaret of the Mosque of Uqbamarker in Kairouanmarker, Tunisiamarker, 8th-9th centuryImage:Charminar Hyderabad.jpg|The Charminarmarker in Hyderabad, IndiamarkerImage:Minaret Al Muhdhar Mosque Tarim Yemen.jpg|The minaret of the Al Muhdhar mosque in Tarim, YemenmarkerMosque atTarim, Yemenmarker, is measured 53 metres (175 ft) highImage:Blue Mosque, Istanbul 2007.JPG|The six minareted Sultan Ahmed Mosquemarker in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker.Image:Faisal mosque2.jpg|Faisal Mosquemarker Minaret, Islamabadmarker, PakistanmarkerImage:Iraqi Minaret.jpg|A typical Iraqi minaret, BaghdadImage:June21 2004-Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore (22).jpg|The minaret of the Wazir Khan Mosque in LahoremarkerImage:kuzkandimasjid.jpg|The minaret of the Kuzkandi Jamiah Masjidmarker in Baghdadamarker, MardanmarkerImage:Shahi Mosque 6.jpg|One of the minarets of the Badshahi Mosquemarker also in LahoreImage:Kharanagh-minaret.jpg|Old adobe minaret in Kharanagh, IranImage:Nouadhibou-wooden-mosque.jpg|Simple wooden pole used as minaret in Nouadhiboumarker, MauritaniamarkerFile:5701-Linxia-City-a-mosque-near-Daxia-River-SW-of-downtown.jpg|A minaret in Linxia, typical of small-town mosques in Gansumarker, ChinamarkerFile:Huisheng-Mosque-minaret-0461.jpg|The "bare tower" of Huaisheng Mosquemarker, Guangzhoumarker, ChinamarkerFile:Tongxin mosque.JPG|Chinese-style minaret of Tongxin Mosque, Ningxia, ChinamarkerFile:Karakol-Dungan-Mosque-Minaret-3.jpg|Wooden minaret of the Dungan Mosque in Karakolmarker, KyrgyzstanmarkerFile:A Swift's Call To Prayer.jpg|Sabah State Mosque minaret in Kota Kinabalumarker, Malaysiamarker (Borneo).File:Moschee Wangen bei Olten cropped.jpg|Minaret in Wangen bei Oltenmarker, Switzerlandmarker.

See also



References

  1. "minaret." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 21 Mar. 2009.


External links




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