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  • 6/14/2009

Architectural Structure of Minarets

jame mosque in naein


Minarets basically consist of three parts:

• Base

• Shaft

• Gallery

1- Base: Characterized by an elongated and slender body minarets, impose a high bearing pressure on their foundations. A poor foundation and loose subsoil will result in the collapse of the structure. Safety precautions require that the ground be excavated deep enough until hard soil is reached. Then, the excavated trench should be filled with gravel, and other hardening material before the main base is built. It sometimes happens that a minaret is mounted right on the ground level without being supported by a base in subsoil.

2- Shaft:

The size and contour of a minaret may vary from one Islamic country to another. Iranian minarets may be grouped in two categories: single and twin.

Single minarets usually have a more elongated body and come in three types: cylindrical, conic (tapering toward the top) and polygonal. The shaft, whether cylindrical or polygonal, forms the main part of a minaret and is encircled by a spiraling set of stairs running anti-clock- wise all the way round the shaft up to the gallery. It is said that the spiraling stairs provide a greater resistance against tremor and that the rounded shape of the shaft staves off the impacts of strong winds. Light ducts are openings along the sides of the shaft that let in natural light for inside stairs.

3- Gallery: A set of protruding cornices around the upper section of the trunk makes up a balcony, circular or polygonal in shape from where the call to prayer is given by the ‘muezzins’. This balcony is covered by a roof-like canopy often made in different styles.

minaret in mashhad

Ornaments: In the first years of Islam minarets were explicitly plain, but later with the advance of building techniques minarets became taller, more stylish and elaborately decorated.

The ornaments used in the construction of minarets included decorative brickwork, tile-work, cornices, arches and inscriptions.

Other links:

History of Iran: Elamite Empire (2500 - 644 BCE)

Elamite history (part 1)

Elamite history (part 2)

Elamite Kings

Median Empire (part1)

Median Empire (part2)

Persian History


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