Here are some of the most impressive minarets across the Islamic world
Built in the 12th century, this minaret lies in the ancient Silk Road city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Featuring delicate Kufic inscriptions and ornate geometric patterns, the Kalyan minaret not only inspired artists across the Islamic world but also those in Europe.
Minaret of Jam
At 1,900 m above sea level and far from any town, the Minaret of Jam rises within a rugged valley along the Hari-rud River at its junction with the river Jam around 215 km east of Herat. Rising to 65m from a 9m diameter octagonal base, its four superimposed, tapering cylindrical shafts are constructed from fired bricks. The Minaret is completely covered with geometric decoration in relief enhanced with a Kufic inscription in turquoise tiles. Built in 1194 by the great Ghurid Sultan Ghiyas-od-din (1153-1203), its emplacement probably marks the site of the ancient city of Firuzkuh, believed to have been the summer capital of the Ghurid dynasty.
The Qutab Minar, also spelled Qutub Minar and Qutb Minar, is a minaret and “victory tower” that forms part of the Qutb complex, which lies at the site of Delhi’s oldest fortified city, Lal Kot, founded by the Tomar Rajputs. The Qutub Minar built in the 12th century is the tallest brick minaret in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of South Delhi, India.
Minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra
The Great Mosque of Samarra is a mosque from the 9th century CE, commissioned in 848 and completed in 851, located in Samarra, Iraq. At the time of construction, it was the world’s largest mosque. The mosque is known for its 52 meters (171 ft) high minaret encircled by a spiral ramp. It is located within the 15,058-hectare (37,210-acre) Samarra Archaeological City UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed in 2007.
Minaret of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Built in 884 and located in Cairo, Egypt, the mosque’s most distinctive feature is its spiraling, corkscrew minaret. Ibn Tulun was most likely recalling the famous spiral minaret of the Mosque of Samarra, which he had known as a boy.
Minaret of Shah Mosque
This 17th-century mosque in Isfahan, Iran, is a masterpiece of Persian architecture. It is famous for its mesmerising turquoise and use of banna’i—a decorative technique of alternating glazed bricks with ordinary bricks to create vivid geometric patterns.
Minaret of Wazir Khan Mosque
Located in Lahore, Pakistan, and completed in 1641, this mosque is a crowning achievement of Mughal architecture. The beauty of its minarets are unrivalled—gorgeously decorated with floral and calligraphic patterns in glazed-tile mosaic work.
Giralda, Mosque-Cathedral Of Córdoba
Now the bell tower of Seville Cathedral, it was originally built as the minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville in 1195. When the Christians reconquered Seville in 1248, King Alfonso X is believed to have threatened with death anyone who damaged the beautiful minaret.
Minarets of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Built in 1616 in Istanbul, this mosque (famously called the Blue Mosque) is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Its six flute-shaped minarets are hallmarks of the Istanbul skyline with their slender design and stalactite corbels.
Minaret of the Kutubiyya Mosque
The minaret of this 12th-century Almohad mosque is an iconic symbol of Marrakesh, Morocco. It has inspired Andalusian monuments with its typical Moorish features of scalloped keystone arches, jagged crenellations, and geometric patterns.
Minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan
The minaret of this 7th-century Tunisian mosque is the oldest still-standing minaret in the world. Its features and structure inspired virtually all minarets of the Islamic world, particularly those of North Africa and Andalusia.
Built in the early 20th century, the Khoja minaret is the crowning achievement of Central Asian ceramic art which began with the Minaret of Jam’s construction nearly a millennium earlier. With its stunning tilework and vibrant colours, it is a splendour to behold.
Minarets of Al-Azhar Mosque
Located in Cairo and established in 972, the minarets of this iconic monument tell a fascinating tale of the mosque’s history through different dynasties—with each minaret being in a different architectural style and ranging over three centuries.
Minaret of the Hassan II
Mosque Completed in 1989 in Casablanca, Morocco, this is one of the largest mosques in the world. Its ornately designed minaret towers over the Atlantic Ocean like a lighthouse, recalling the Qur’anic verse: “The throne of God was built on water.”
Minaret of the Ketchaoua Mosque
This grand 17th-century mosque was built by the Ottomans in Algiers, Algeria. Its beautifully crafted twin minarets are decorated with Moorish plaster work, and designs that synthesise both the Byzantine and Moorish artistic traditions.
Chor Minor Madrasah