Islamic Minarets Architecture in Iran

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Islamic Minarets Architecture in Iran Dokhtaran Minaret.gif


Chehel Dokhtaran Minaret

In ancient time, a minaret was built between two borders and something bright was put into it to show the respective frontier, and gradually such minarets were also built in traveler's route to enable the passengers and caravans to recognize their route and destination.After the rise of Islam, and in Islamic countries such minarets were built for calling to prayer and therefore, in most places where such minarets were constructed after Islam, they were linked to mosques or buildings which were considered to be religious and sacred. One of the practical aspects of tin minarets connected to verandas and domes in mosques was the quality of creating resistance and prevention of the dome or the veranda from falling down. The minarets in Iran after converting to Islam have become parts and parcels of the mosques, and nowadays, and in spite of the advances made in construction technology, due to their sacred and spiritual nature, minarets still continue to be built in the mosques.In this article Based on the field investigation has been done 2006 - 2010
and through introducing various kinds of minarets in Iran from the aspects of structure and form, the best types of minarets which has been built in different centuries in the city of Isfahan will be studied and analyzed, from different aspects of form, shape, structure and ornaments There is no doubt that the unforgettable message in the Iranian architecture has been the preservation of the multiple aspects of the buildings constructed by the Iranian architects and artists, all through ages and specially during the Islamic period. Among others, mention can be made of the tall minarets of the Iranian mosques, that, while being places for calling to prayers and proper places for inviting the believers towards their god, they are a symbol of prosperity and in separable part beside the mosques, and while preserving  their efficiency and having the ability of possessing a single value, they own their specific features as an independent work of art  One of the practical aspects of twin minarets  connected to verandas and domes in mosques was the quality  of creating resistance and prevention of the dome or the veranda from falling down Objectives In Iranian traditional architecture, elements lik e light play an outstanding role in the religious art and specially the Islamic architecture and the Iranian mosques and minarets which have adopted their names from the word "light". In all construction, the presence of light, and having access to it was a basic requisite. Ali Minaret1.JPG
Isfahan.Minaret Ali Minaret

This survey was carried out on a considerable historical buildings indicates that minarets can be deemed as places for taste and elegance, places for manifestation of colors and various types of art and an exhibition of the works of Moslem architects and artists with a view to the realization of Their beliefs and religious convictions History The nature of a minaret, unlike other Islamic buildings like schools and caravanserai, can immediately and without any hesitation, be recognized.
Generally speaking, it seems that there is not any connection between a minaret and its being utilized as a means for calling to prayers, so that in the beginning stage of Islam, this was done quite naturally, and later on with the increase in population and involvement of people in business and rotine life, it was decided that calling people to prayer be done in a loud voice when they intend to say prayers .
The terms used to name this kind of architecture are chosen according to the application of this construction, and in this paper are referred to Minaret, Monastery and Me' Zane which are used interchangeably Among these three terms, MINARET or MINAR is much more commonly used than others, although the term itself has three variant pronunciations, MANARET, MONAREH and MENAREH but its original meaning is a place of light and fire considering its Turkish root, it means to be a proper root for the English word Minaret.]
In the preIslamic Arabia, this term was used to mean a high place where signals were sent out by using fume or light That is why a minaret was generally assumed to be a light house.
The second term which is normally used to mean minaret and in fact it has a standard application in the North Afric a is the term "monastery". The term means a cell in which the Christians live in seclusion (a cell has a thin and sharp head). of Abd al Samad built in 1304.jpg


Tomb of Abd al Samad

built in 1304

They were linked together in these cells and in large rectangular towers, which the churches and abbeys where  equipped with them The root of this term, like minaret, is misleading, since the original meaning of monastery is in fact seclusion This term, in the process of the part and whole is used to  mean a complete building which the cell constituted a small part of it Interestingly enough, the two Arabic words which are often used for a minaret, give no clue to the religious cermonies and rites, with which the building has been deeply intermixed for centuries. Instead, they have signs of Christian and pre-Islamic associations respectively .The term that satisfactorily explains the religious cermonies of the building is MEZANE which is derived from  the word IZAN, and means a place where people are invited  An etymological study of minaret, will lead us to the idea that in different times and places, and depending on the applications of the building, specific names were chosen for a minaret At the same time, it is mentionable that etymology cannot be a reliable guide in identifying a minaret's performance In view of the above points, the Iranians who had recently converted to Islam came to the idea of using minarets and with justification that a minaret is a place of light, they built mosques beside them. The minarets located outside the cities were used both as road guides and mosques and later on they lead the tired passengers to the Caravansaries. And the city minarets too, were used in order to glorify the space for inviting people to religious duties and specially prayer . Minaret.jpg
Sareban Minaret

A minaret's structure Minarets are comprised of four basic parts.
Base: in the shape of a square a hexagon or a dodecagon .
Stem: in the shape of a cylinder or a cone .
Cap: in the shape of a square or an octagon and in fact the most important part of the minaret.
 Head: it is an awning which is built in different shapes.  
The Historical Root of the Iranian Minarets
In any discussion which is generally rise among re-searches about the principles and the structural roots of the Iranian minarets We can mention the temples and ziggurats of the Mespotamia, stone masses or pillars which were erected by acient tribes of the central Asia in commemoration of their
triumphs the towers, obelisks and ancient fire temples of Achalmenian and sassanid periods and before that, and even Greek style pillars. Among the oldest memorial towers braziers, impressive as the minarets and were used for objectives more or less the same as ones pertaining to the Islamic period in Iran and other countries, we refer to the falling list:
-The Noorabad tower, commonly known as Draggon's obelisk belmging to the Parthian Era (224 A.DB.C.) in Fars province..
The Firoozabad fire tower, the sassanid Era (224 A.D-651)
The Babylonian tower, in the time if Hamourabi (2003-1961 BC), which was built for Mardiuk the
God of Babylonia..
Choghazambil ziggurat to Ontashgal (1234-27B.C)Susa. gate way.jpg
Choghazanbil gate way.Susa

zoroaster's kabaa, which is square based tower, oppOsite the stone tomb of Dariush. Rostam's picture, in Fars province.
The Alexandrian Lighthouse Minaret of St John, church, in Damascus
The Ghabous Dome (1006-7.AD)
Classification of the Iranian Minarets as Regards Their Forms
From the view point of the Islamic culture researchers it seems that the idea of erection of minaret, first appeared in Syria and in the time of the Umayyad Caliphate. But in Syria Egypt and Morocco, the Cylindrical minaret which gradually become thinner from down to upward, become fashionable
and as a rule, the Iranian minarets can be divided into three major typ es from the aspect of their apparent forms and The Cylindrical minarets: which they often have plain figures and in few cases, very simple ornaments are seen in their Cylindrical bodies. For instance, we can refer to the minaret of Khorramabad, Golpayegan, and minaret of the Friday mosque in Tafresh city and minaret of sheikh Danial in Khonje, in Larestan city .The conical minarets: such minarets are often slender and are like oblige and well shaped cons. This kind of body can result in the more strength and resistance of the minaret and as examples we refer to minarets of Damghan, Semnan Bastam, Sareban, and Ali minaret in Seaman. Such conical minarets have passed their height of prosperity in the 5th and 6th centuries after the Hegira, which are among the notable centuries in the Iranian architecture. For instance, some of those minarets had two or three stories, and the thinner and Architecture Research 201 shorter stories were located on the others, and in some cases every story had its own Me' Zane and crown, such as Tabriz and Golpayegon Friday mosques .


The prismatic minarets: Such minarets, which only afew numbers of them exist in Iran, seem to be polygonal at the base, and the more they go up, their base diameters are reduced. The Naein Friday mosque minaret and the short minaret of the Imam Hassan Asgary mosque in Amol can be mentioned as example finaly Minaret is considered to be the basic elements of the Islamic technique art. All the Islamic mosques and minarets have been constructed for the preservation and expression of one single objective; however, all of them possess their own specific features of form, performance, structure and ornment  Meanwhile, even the construction of the most colossal buildings and ngaging with the finest decoration have not distracted the maker from precision and saving the quality .The taste and elegance of the skilful architect does not show the faintest deficiency against the largeness of the work Site investigations illustrated that in the traditional Persian architecture, the shapes and the forms have gone beyond their material and familiar meaning and in every direction they acquire a higher quality than their apparent ones. The geometrical shapes of the square, circle, and octagon and soon, have their own value position and are symbols of the artist's religious beliefs; but beyond the geometrical shape and material volumes and sizes, even elements like light have their outstanding position in the religious art. Espcially the Islamic architecture and the Iranian mosques and minarets, which have taken their names from "light.





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