Mil-e-Karat - Taybad - Khurasan

Mil-e-Karat – Taybad – Khurasan

The history of building shafts goes back to pre-Islam era and the oldest available samples belong to Partian (Mil-e-Noor Abad Mamsani in Fars province) and Sasanian (Firuzabad Tower in Khorasan Razavi Province) Empires.

Shaft found a great importance in Iranian architecture after Islam and it was quickly used as a decorative structure in a way that it became a place to show different decorative arts such as brickwork and tiling. Since 1st -5th A. H. centuries, the shafts (which later became a pattern for building minarets as a part of mosques) were mainly built individually (Khosrogerd Minaret and Semnan Minaret), joint to the building (Arsalan Jazeb Tomb) and sometimes there was a distance between shaft and building (minaret of the mosque in Saveh Square).

Khosrogerd Minaret & Sarban Minaret 12th century A.D

Left: Khosrogerd Minaret, 12th century AD – Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province, Iran
Photo by Farnaz Ghandi via Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0
Right: Sarban Minaret, 12th century A.D – Isfahan, Isfahan Province, Iran
Photo by Haaft via Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0

During Ilkhante and Timurid empires the minarets were tall. Minaret of Mozafari Jame Mosque in Kerman and minaret of Goharshad Mosque are among the minarets of Ilkhante and Timurid minarets respectively.

Considering shafts and minarets of Iran as a structure, they can be divided into two categories of single and paired. The single minarets have long body with few decorations, and in term of appearance they have three categories: cylindrical (Golpayegan Minaret), conical (Tarikhaneh Minaret in Damghan and Minaret of Semnan) and polygonal or prismatic (Minaret of Jame Mosque in Nain). The most prominent paired minarets of Iran are minarets of Jame Mosque of Yazd having the longest height (8th & 9th A.H. centauries).

Jameh Mosque of Yazd, Iran (Persia)

Jam-e Mosque of Yazd Minaret – Yazd Province, Iran
Photo by Leonid Andronov/ shutterstock

After Safavid Dynasty, building tall minarets was not much common e.g. minaret of Jame Mosque of Shahrud. The minarets of Pamenar, Shah Abdul Azim, Fatima Masumeh Shrine and old Sepahsalar School from Qajar dynasty are exemplary as well.