Malwiya Minaret in Samarra Mosque, Iraq: the Babel Tower in Real Life

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Samarra minaret

Have you ever imagined that the Babel Tower could exist in real life? Let’s have a glimpse of Malwiya Minaret of Samarra Mosque in Iraq, and join us on our Iraq autumn tour soon!

The Samarra Mosque: A Jewel of Islamic Architecture

Nestled in the heart of Iraq lies a remarkable testament to ancient Islamic architecture and history—the Samarra Mosque and its iconic Malwiya Minaret. These awe-inspiring structures, dating back to the 9th century, have captivated visitors and researchers alike for centuries. Join us on a virtual journey! And we unveil the grandeur and significance of these architectural marvels, shedding light on their rich cultural heritage and enduring legacy.

the ruins of Samarra mosque

The Samarra Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Samarra, was commissioned during the Abbasid Caliphate by Caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 848 CE. It lies in the city of Samarra, about 125 kilometers north of Baghdad. And it stands as one of the largest mosque complexes in the world. This magnificent structure is a testament to the architectural achievements of the time. Besides, it showcases the splendor of Islamic art and design.

Samarra mosque view from above the Malwiya Minaret

The Magnificent Malwiya Minaret: An Architectural and Aesthetic Wonder

Standing adjacent to the Samarra Mosque is the famous Malwiya Minaret, due to its unique spiral shape. Built around the same time as the mosque, the minaret intended to serve as a place for the call to prayer. Rising to a height of approximately 52 meters, the Malwiya Minaret was an engineering marvel of its time. And it features intricate brickwork, decorative bands, and ornate carvings.

The spiral design of the Malwiya Minaret serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. Symbolically, the spiraling form is believed to represent the ascension of the faithful towards the divine. Furthermore, the shape allowed the muezzin (the person who performs the call to prayer) to climb to the top and deliver the call. Therefore they could ensure that the sound would carry far and wide across the city of Samarra.

Malwiya minaret from the perspective of Samarra Mosque

Cultural Significance and UNESCO World Heritage Status

The Samarra Mosque and Malwiya Minaret hold immense cultural and historical importance. In recognition of their significance, they were collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. This prestigious honor highlights their outstanding universal value and underscores their importance in the narrative of Islamic civilization.

Over the years, the Samarra Mosque and Malwiya Minaret have faced numerous challenges. This includes natural disasters, neglect, and the ravages of time. However, significant efforts have been made to preserve and restore these architectural gems. Restoration projects, led by local and international organizations, aim to safeguard the structures for future generations, ensuring that their legacy endures.

Rik and Malwiya Minaret, Samarra Mosque


In brief, the Samarra Mosque and Malwiya Minaret stand as testament to the rich cultural heritage and architectural brilliance of Iraq. These awe-inspiring structures continue to inspire awe in visitors from around the world. As guardians of a glorious past, it is our collective responsibility to cherish and preserve these iconic landmarks. Only in this case can we ensure that their magnificence continues to illuminate the present and future generations.

Still interested in this ancient city and wanting to see it by yourselves? Join us on our Grand Iraq Autumn Tour in October!

Rik and group travellers