Minaret al-Malwiya
Great Mosque of Samarra / Jami al-Mutawakkil

Patron: Caliph al-Mutawakki
Abbasid period, 847-61 AD

In 836 AD, the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’t, wishing to escape conflict with the local population in Baghdad, moved to Samarra, which remained the seat of power for the Abbasids for next 56 years, a period during which the largest mosque in all of Islam was built at Samarra.


The Great Mosque of Samarra was at one time the largest mosque in the world; its minaret, the Malwiya 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.

Source/Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Malwiya - Islam

Samarra, Iraq

(630-1260 A.D.)

This enormous spiral tower is part of the Great Mosque of Samarra. It stands 165 ft. tall and it would have been the first thing a traveler or enemy would have seen when approaching Samarra. It acts as a minaret to the mosque but it is not functional, so it is instead marking the presence of the Caliph and is a symbol of power.

The tower is composed of perfect mathematical spirals. Many structures in were built using a precise mathematical system or pattern like the one that was used to build the Malwiya.