Minarets of Umayyad Mosque

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, is supplied with three unusual minarets dominating the sky of Damascus. The peculiarity of these minarets appears firstly in their unusual odd number as the customary number was one, two, four or seven as found in the Kaaba and al-Haram as-Sharif in Jerusalem). The other peculiar feature is the varying design of these minarets.


The Umayyad Mosque was the birth place of a number of key elements in Muslim architecture such as the horseshoe arch, the square minaret and the Maqsurah.

The Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque) is one of the very first monumental works of architecture in Islamic history; the building served as a central gathering point after Mecca to consolidate the Muslims in their faith and conquest to rule the surrounding territories under the Umayyad Caliphate. The Umayyad Mosque's religious significance was reinforced by its renowned medieval manuscripts and ranking as one of the wonders of the world due to is beauty and scale of construction.

List of the Minarets

circa 850 CE

Minaret of (Jesus), Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

Minaret of the Bride
The Minaret of the Bride (مئذنة العروس), of Masjid al-Umawi as seen from the courtyard of the mosque complex, with dome of the treasury to the left, is the oldest of the three minarets of Jame al-Umawi. On one of the slabs it bears the replica of a Sundial built by ibn Shattir, which was used to calculate Salah timings. The 9th-century Arab geographer, al-Muqaddasi, credited the Abbasids for building the northern minaret (Madhanat al-'Arous; "Minaret of the Bride") of the mosque in 831 CE during the reign of the caliph al-Ma'mun who reigned from 813 till 833 CE.

circa 1217 CE

Minaret of Jesus (right), Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

Minaret of Isa
The Minaret of Isa (مئذنة عيسى) to the right and Quba an-Nisr to the left, reaching 253 feet (77 meters) in height, it is the tallest of the mosque’s three minarets. The square-shaped main body of the minaret is crowned by an octagonal spire, tapering to a point and surmounted by a crescent. Some sources claim it was originally built by the Abbasids in the 9th century, while other sources attribute the original structure to the Umayyads. The main body of the current minaret was built by the Ayyubids in 1247, but the upper section was constructed by the Ottomans.

circa 1488 CE

Minaret of Qaitbey (Manarat ul-Gharibiyya), Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

Minaret of Qaitbey
The Western Minaret (Madhanat al-Gharbiyya) is also known as the "Minaret of the Qaitbey" as it was built by Mamluk sultan Qaitbay in 1488. The Western Minaret displays strong Islamic-era Egyptian architectural influence typical of the Mamluk period. The minaret is octagonal in shape and is built in receding sections with three galleries. It is generally believed that both the Minaret of Jesus and the Western Minaret were built on the foundation of Ancient Roman towers (temenos), but some scholars find this to be questionable because of the absence of corner towers in other former Roman temples.

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