Located in the eastern section of Baghdad close to the Tigris River and the Mustansiriya Madrasa, the Minaret of Jami al-Khaffafin is the oldest standing minaret in the city. Today the al-Khaffafin minaret is connected to the Ottoman mosque, Jami al-Khaffafin, named after the neighboring "shoemaker" souk. However, it was once associated with the historic mosque of al-Hada'ir, constructed by Zumurud Khatun, avid benefactor of religious buildings and mother of the Abbasid caliph al-Nasir. Accordingly, the minaret dates prior to 1202, the year of her death.
Like many other minarets and mausoleums in the region during this period, the Minaret of Jami al-Khaffafin is constructed in brick and follows a plan with an octagonal base that rises to a cylindrical shaft, which is entered from the roof of the mosque. This area is capped by a gallery supported by three layers of pointed-arched muqarnasat. A band of vertical bricks separates the shaft from the muqarnasat. Above this the column becomes thinner and extends towards a small pointed cupola exhibiting geometric designs of five-pointed stars and hexagons in black and blue glazed colored tile. It is uncertain if the tile is part of the original construction. In addition, the minaret's octagonal base and shaft exhibit little to no decoration. Again it is difficult to ascertain if these features were part of the original design.
There have been many initiatives to restore this monument throughout history, including during the rule of Sulaiman Pasha in the late eighteenth century and as recent as the middle of the twentieth century. Some details remain from the original minaret, while others have been adapted and no longer speak to the early Abbasid period.
Al-Janab, Tariq Jawad. Studies In Mediaeval Iraqi Architecture, 61-65. Baghdad: Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Culture and Information State Organization of Antiquities and Heritage, 1982.
JPC Inc. Rusafa: Study on Conservation and Redevelopment of Historical Centre of Baghdad City/Republic of Iraq, Amanat al Assima, 52. Japan: JCP Inc., 1984.
Khalil, Jabir and Strika, Vincenzo. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad; the Results of a Joint Italian -Iraqi Survey, 60-61. Napoli: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1987.