Great Mosque of Samarra

Great Mosque of Samarra

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The Great Mosque of Samarra is a 9th century mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 located in Samarra
Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. The mosque was commissioned in 848 and completed in 851 by the Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Al-Mutawakkil
Al-Mutawakkil
Al-Mutawakkil ʻAlā Allāh Jaʻfar ibn al-Muʻtasim was an Abbasid caliph who reigned in Samarra from 847 until 861...

 who reigned (in Samarra) from 847 until 861.

The Great Mosque of Samarra was at one time the largest mosque in the world; its minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

, the Malwiya
Malwiya
The Minaret of Samarra, also known as the Malwiya Minaret or Malwiya Tower is part of the Great Mosque of Samarra in Samarra, Iraq. The mosque is one of the largest in the world, and was built by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil...

 Tower, is a vast spiralling cone 52 meters high and 33 meters wide with a spiral ramp.

The mosque had 17 aisles, and its walls were panelled with mosaics of dark blue glass. It was part of an extension of Samarra eastwards.


On April 1, 2005, the top of the Malwiya minaret was damaged by a bomb. Insurgents reportedly attacked the tower because U.S. troops had been using it as a lookout position. However, per Tony Blair in his January 21, 2011 Iraq Inquiry testimony, insurgents had attacked the mosque to incite Sunni-Shite violence and further destabilize the country. The blast removed pieces of brick from the top of the minaret along its spiral ramp.

The art and architecture of the mosque was influential; stucco carvings within the mosque in floral and geometric designs represent early Islamic decoration. Additionally, the mosque of Ibn Tulun
Mosque of Ibn Tulun
The Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Ţūlūn is located in Cairo, Egypt. It is arguably the oldest mosque in the city surviving in its original form, and is the largest mosque in Cairo in terms of land area....

in Cairo, Egypt was based on the Samarra mosque in many regards.

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