Great Mosque of al-Mutawakkil

The Great Mosque of al-Mutawakkil was an immense mosque built in 848AD by the caliph al-Mutawakkil. It was constructed entirely of brick, and at its time it was the largest mosque ever built. It is rectangular in plan, consisting of a walled courtyard planned on a ratio of three to two (155m x 238m). A triple portico surrounds the courtyard, and on the south side there are nine aisles that formed the prayer chamber. Excavations in the 1960s discovered fragments of blue glass which lined the walls.

Al-Malwiyya (ziggurat) minaret is set 27m away from the mosque wall on the main axis of the northern wall. It is 52m high and sits on a square base.

An inclined ramp spirals to the top of the structure. Al-Malwiyya minaret and the exterior walls still existing today dominate the plains and can be seen from afar. It has served as a model of minarets more modest in size, of the mosques of
Abu Dulaf also in Samarra and Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.
General view with minaret in the distance
Photo: Jacques-Ghislain de Maussion de Favieres

Ref.: Damascus and Baghdad, Capitals and Lands of the Caliphs. Jacques-Ghislain de Maussion de Favieres. Dar el-Mashreq Publishers, Beirut. 1972.