Essential Architecture-  Iraq

The minaret at Anah


built by a member of the Uqaylid dynasty of Mosul


Anah, a town close to the Syrian border.


11th century




It is built with rubble stones and covered with juss, or gypsum.


The Minaret was located in the town of Anah, in western Iraq, near the banks of the middle Euphrates River a short distance from the main road connecting Iraq and Syria, about 80 km east of the Syrian border and 310 km west of Baghdad. The minaret was built by a member of the Uqaylid dynasty of Mosul during the 10th century, or more likely the 11th century.

Scholar Francis Deblauwe reports that the minaret was allegedly destroyed by an explosion on 22 June 2006. According to Deblauwe, "the Iraqi Accord Front, a mainly Sunni Arab Islamist Iraqi political coalition, accuses Shi'ites of staging a deliberate campaign of destroying national and esp. Sunni-origin monuments: the top of the Malwiyyah minaret in Samarra (also a famous monument built by a Sunni dynasty, this time the Abassids), the monument of el-Mansur in Baghdad, etc."
The Minaret is situated in Anah, a town close to the Syrian border. It was built freestanding on the Island of Labad, on the Euphrates River, by the Uqaylid dynasty of Mosul.

As a freestanding tower, its octagonal plan differs from the Seljuk and Zangid Iraqi minarets of the same period. It is built with rubble stones and covered with juss, or gypsum. The octagonal base has an arched opening on the north side providing access to the interior of the minaret. Its octagonal shaft leans sidewise. It is decorated with eight rows of arched niches set in rectangular frames. Every row is composed of eight niches located on each of the eight sides of the octagon. Some of these sixty-four niches constitute windows to light the internal staircase.

The shaft ends with an octagonal recessed spire covered by a low dome. This recess creates a space for the balcony inscribed inside the minaret envelope; it is accessible through four arched openings situated on the sides of the octagonal spire below the dome.

One of 'Anah's prized possessions was an ancient minaret. Dr. Alastair Northedge, a British archaeologist who wrote a book about findings in 'Anah, wrote that the minaret is 'commonly attributed to the Uqaylid (dynasty) and the 5th/11th century (AH/AD), though ... more probably of the 6th/12th century [AH/AD]. It was situated on the island at 'Anah and belonged to ... the congregational mosque.

When the valley was flooded by the Haditha Dam at Haditha in 1984-85, the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities cut it into sections, and removed it to the new 'Anah where it was re-erected at the end of the 1980s.' Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq Dr. Muayad Said described the structure before the filling of the reservoir: 'It has an octagonal body enhanced by alcoves, some of which are blind. ... Conservation work on the building was undertaken in 1935 and again in 1963 and 1964, and today it stands 28 metres high and fully restored.'


Al-Ani, Abd al-Aziz. 1985. Al-Madinah Al-Mughriqah, Dirasah Maydaniyah Fulkluriyah li-Madinat Anah. al-Jumhuriyah al-Iraqiyah, Wizarat al-Thaqafah wa-al-Ilam, Baghdad.

Bosworth, Clifford Edmond. 1996. The New Islamic Dynasties, New York, Columbia University Press, 91-92.

Uluçam, Abdüsselam. 1989. Irak'taki Türk Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi, 128.

Activities of the Institute of Archaeological Sciences
and of the Centre for the Restoration of Monuments
in Baghdad


‘Anah. The island in the Euphrates
Project: Study of the ‘Anah site and photogrammetric survey
of the minaret
Site: ‘Anah
Director: Roberto Parapetti
The minaret of ‘Anah
The minaret of ‘Anah

An agricultural centre on the Euphrates, along one of the main roads connecting central Mesopotamia and Syria since antiquity, approximately 300 km northwest of Baghdad, the site, until recent years located almost completely on the river’s right bank, in the 17th century, the time of its greatest expansion, occupied a large river island and the two riverbanks for at least seven miles, made fertile by the numerous norias that raised water from the river to irrigate the fields. The site, frequented at least since the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C., is mentioned in Assyrian texts of the 9th century B.C. with the name of Hanat. From the 1st century B.C., the Euphrates valley marked the border between the Roman and Parthian empires and was contended between the two. In 1978 the city was destined to be submerged by the water basin planned along the Euphrates.

minaret of 'Anah
The minaret of ‘Anah: the stages of its dismantlement

The Medieval settlement of ‘Anah is known for the beautiful minaret of its main mosque, at the centre of the island, dating back to the 11th century, a rare example of Seljukid architecture in Iraq.
The minaret, 24 m tall and with an octagonal cross section on a square base, became the symbol of the city and Iraq’s central authorities decided, upon its previous dismantlement into transportable sections, to move it to the site of New ‘Anah, a few kilometres upstream. Unfortunately the minaret was bombed in 2004. The monument’s photogrammetric survey and the documentation of the island’s traditional architecture were performed by the Institutes of Baghdad.

Source- file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/tf/My%20Documents/DOWNLOADS/istituti-anah.html


links (minaret destroyed).