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.
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.