The Seljuk Minarets

The Seljuk mosques took a form of minaret which was substantially different from that of North Africa. The adoption of the cylindrical form, instead of the usual square, with tapered shafts often broken by balconies was an Iranian preference later expanded to most of Muslim Asia.

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Muslim Architecture under Seljuk Patronage (1038-1327) by Rabah Saoud

Connected with this development in Seljuk mosques in Iran is the form of minaret which took a new dimension substantially different from that of North Africa. The adoption of the cylindrical form, instead of the usual square, with tapered shafts often broken by balconies supported on muqarnas was an Iranian preference later expanded to most of Muslim Asia. The oldest example found is that at Saveh (1010) and at Damghan (1026-29) (Hoag, 1987, p.95). Other examples of cylindrical minarets survived in various parts of Muslim Asia.

In Afghanistan we find a good example with superimposed shaft in Jam (western Afghanistan), built between 1163 and 1203 with polygon base and a height of 200 feet (figure 7).

In Bukhara, we find examples of tapered shaft minarets such as the minaret of Kalan's Mosque (figure 8) built in 1127 by the Qarakhanid Arslan Shah (1102-1129) with 46 meters height (150 feet) and that of Vabkent's mosque built in 1141 and with 41 meters (135 feet) height.

A third example of these minarets is found in India and Anatolia with their shafts being supported by semi-cylindrical grooves as in Qutb Minar Minaret (Delhi 1199) (figure 9) In addition to the form, the Seljuk introduced the practice of implanting dual minarets flanking the entrance with the oldest instances appearing in Tabas in Iran (Scerrato, 1980).

Figure 1: Jam Minaret
(Afghanistan)

 
Figure 2: Kalan Mosque's
Minaret (Bukhara)
Figure 3: Qutb Minar (India)
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