Minarets of al-Aqsa Mosque

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The al-Aqsa compound has four minarets in total, al-Fakhariyya minaret, al-Ghawanima minaret, Bab al-Silsila minaret, Minarah al-Asbat. These minarets were added over a span of a century, by various Sultans and Ameers, and are used for the purpose of raising Adhan five times a day. The minarets are located on southern, western and northern sides, probably because of the population of the city was on these sides, the eastern side has a Muslim cemetery and faces Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley.


List of the Minarets

circa 1278 CE

al-Fakhariyya Minaret
al-Fakhariyya minaret is located on the sout-west corner of Masjid il-Aqsa. It was built under the supervision of Sharif al-Din Abd al-Rahman on the orders of Mamluk sulkat Lajin, and was named after Fakhar al-Din al-Khalili father of building supervisor. It is built in traditional Syrian style. At 23-meters high it is the shortest minaret inside Masjid al-Aqsa and stands without any foundations. The top of the minaret was damaged in the earthquake that hit Jerusalem in 1922 AD (1340 AH) and was repaired by the Islamic Supreme Council which complemented it with a dome. It was later covered with lead sheets by the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. It has a northern entrance. It can be reached by means of a stone ladder, which is located in the south-western corner at the junction of the Maghreb Mosque and the Women’s Mosque.

circa 1297 CE

al-Ghawanima Minaret
al-Ghawanima minaret is the second of minarets and is located on the north-western corner of the noble sanctuary in 1297-98. It is the tallest minaret of Haram al-Sharif and was built by architecht named Qazi Sharaf al-Din al Khalili on the orders of Sultan Lajin. The minaret is almost completely made of stone except the wooden canopy over Muazzin's balcony. Because of its firm structure, the Ghawanima minaret has been nearly untouched by earthquakes. The minaret is divided into several stories by stone molding and stalactite galleries. The first two stories are wider and form the base of the tower. The additional four stories are surmounted by a cylindrical drum and a bulbous dome. The stairway is externally located on the first two floors, but becomes an internal spiral structure from the third floor until it reaches the muezzin's balcony.

circa 1329 CE

Bab al-Silsila Minaret
Bab al-Silsila minaret, (The Chain Gate Minaret) is located directly above the Gate of the Chain, thus named as such. Tanzik, the Mamluk Governor of Syria ordered the construction, probably replacing an earlier Umayyad built minaret. This reconstruction took place, as mentioned in the inscriptions, in the days of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad, apparently by Amir Tankiz, governor of Syria, when he built the madrasa named al-Tankiziyya. It is built in traditional Syrian style and almost entirely of stone. The best Muazzin is assigned to this minaret since 16th century, and the first Azan is raised from this minaret, and signals for the rest of the mosques to follow. The entrance door leads to a stone spiral staircase within the core that rises to the muezzin's gallery. A door in the south side of the stair head chamber leads to the muezzin's stair, above which is an octagonal lantern surmounted by a circular drum and bulbous stone dome, now sheathed in lead.

circa 1367 CE

al-Asbat Minaret
The last and most notable minaret was built in 1367 CE, and is known as Minaret al-Asbat. Minarah al-Asbat, Minaret of Israel, Mad'nah al-Salahiyya, Minaret of the Tribes. Haram al-Sharif. Originally built by Mamluks it was rebuilt by Ottomans. It's dome was damaged in 1927 earthquake and was rebuilt thereafter. It is composed of a cylindrical stone shaft (built later by the Ottomans), which springs up from a rectangular Mamluk-built base on top of a triangular transition zone. The shaft narrows above the muezzin's balcony, and is dotted with circular windows, ending with a bulbous dome. The dome was reconstructed after the 1927 earthquake.

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