The Ashmolean

Iraq: Navel of the World

Buildings [4]

The Great Mosque of Samarra was built in the 9th century. Its minaret, or tower from which the faithful were called to prayer, is unusual in having an external spiral staircase. Some scholars think that its design was inspired by the ruins of ancient Babylonian ziggurrats, or temple towers. Ziggurrats were originally square in plan but a millennium or more of erosion would have left only their roughly cylindrical rubble cores exposed.
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