The Suq al-Ghazl Minaret stands on the site of the
original Khulafa Mosque, constructed between 902 and 908 by the Abbasid caliph
Muqtafi. It was reconstructed multiple times, most significantly in 1272 after
being burnt to the ground in 1258 during the Mongol invasion of Baghdad. The
minaret was built in 1279, probably by the order of 'Ata Malik al-Juwaini,
making it a product of the Ilkhanid period (1256-1353).
The minaret was
referred to as Suq al-Ghazl Minaret, in reference to the wool and cotton market
that developed to the east of the site. Suleyman Pasha constructed a small
Ottoman mosque to its west that was known as the Suq al-Ghazl Mosque, but it
was demolished in 1957. While initial efforts to restore this monument were
executed in 1917, it wasn't until 1960 that it was completely finished. In
1960, the Ministry of al- Awqaf commissioned Mohamed Makiya to build a new
mosque that would integrate the minaret.
Makiya's monumental architecture was developed around the only
remaining artifact of the mosque once occupying the space:
the dilapidated minaret of al-Ghazl.Makiya’s innovative design for the mosque, located in the Sabbabigh
al-Aal neighborhood of Old Baghdad, embodied ideas of urban conservation,
regionalism in form, and continuity of architectural heritage; ideas which
informed his work henceforth as well as that of younger generations of
Constructed in brick, the minaret rises from a twelve-sided foundation
featuring four layers of muqarnas that support an enclosed passageway. Above
this the cylindrical shaft continues and is capped by another five layers of muqarnas
extending outwards and supporting another circular gallery. Above this ascends
another small column that buttresses a pointed dome. The minaret exhibits
elaborate arabesque-carved brickwork and geometric patterns. This is the only
minaret in Iraq with a twelve-sided base.
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Antiquities and Heritage, 91-96.
JPC Inc. 1984. Rusafa: Study on Conservation and Redevelopment of Historical
Centre of Baghdad City/Republic of Iraq, Amanat al Assima. Japan: JCP Inc., 60.
Khalil, Jabir and Strika, Vincenzo. 1987. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad;
the Results of a Joint Italian -Iraqi Survey. Napoli: Istituto Universitario
Michell, George. ed. 1978. Architecture of the Islamic World; Its History and
Social Meaning. London: Thanes & Hudson, 248.
Ettinghausen, Richard and Grabar, Oleg. 1987. The Art and Architecture of Islam 650-1250. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 296.