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Muzaffar Minaret

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This minaret was built in 1190 under the reign of Muzaffar Gökböri, the king of Erbil. Erbil expanded greatly under Muzaffar, and the minaret was part of a large mosque and surrounded by the town.

After his rule, and especially in the last centuries of Ottoman rule, Erbil collapsed and the town shrunk away. The area around the minaret was empty (Kurdish "chol") hence the nickname Choly Minaret.

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The Minaret is built of baked bricks with a high octagonal base and a tall cylindrical shaft, with a balcony between the base and the shaft. The base is decorated with two tiers of niches with pointed arches, two on each of the eight faces that are inscribed in rectangular frames. The balcony parapet is carved with 24 small niches. The access door to the minaret steps is on the eastern side of the octagonal base and leads to the balcony. From there a small door gives access to steps inside the cylindrical shaft that led to the second balcony which has since collapsed. The shaft tapers inward and is decorated with several bands of interlocking diagonal Hazar-Baf motifs that are separated with thin bands. The foundation was restored in 2009 by an Italian team.

The minaret was built in 1190 by Muzaffar al-Din Abu Sa'eed al-Kawkaboori, the king of Arbil. Excavations conducted by the Iraqi Directorate of Antiquities in 1960, and in 1980, have uncovered the foundations of a large mosque to the southeast of the minaret, disproving the previously held belief that the minaret was part of the madrasa built by the same donor.

The minaret is composed of a high octagonal base and a tall cylindrical shaft, with a balcony located between the base and the shaft. It is built of baked bricks. The base is decorated with two tiers of niches with pointed arches, two on each of the eight faces that are inscribed in rectangular frames. The balcony parapet is carved with twenty-four small niches. The access door to the minaret steps is on the eastern side of the octagonal base and leads top the balcony. From there a small door gives access to steps inside the cylindrical shaft that led to the second balcony now collapsed.

The shaft tapers inward and is decorated with several bands of interlocking diagonal Hazar-Baf motifs that are separated with thin bands. archnet

The upper half collapsed naturally in the 1920.

Studies

Bosworth 1996Bosworth, Clifford Edmond. 1996. The New Islamic Dynasties. New York: Columbia University Press, 190-191.
Khamma 1992Sami ibn al-Sayyid Khammas. 1992. Imarat Irbil fi al-'Asr al-'Abbasi wa-mu'arrikhuha Ibn al-Mustawfi. Al-Riya': Dar al-Shawwaf, 95.
Uluçam 1989Uluçam, Abdüsselam. 1989. Irak'taki Türk Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi, 123-124, 411-412.
hawlergov.orgInformation on the minaret.
knwe.orgAppears to be a richly informative Kurdish-language (Sorani) article about the minaret.
Gertrude Bell's photosPhotos showing the minaret: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.