Collection 20


Collection 20: 50 Single minarets of Iranian architecture style

This collection showcases fifty impressive minarets from Iranian architecture – from the Parthian period to the 19th century – located across various countries today. The tallest minaret, standing at 65 meters, can be found in Afghanistan’s Ghor province, while the shortest, at just 7 meters, is situated in Iran’s Fars province.

These minarets were initially built on the Iranian plateau during the great empires of Iran, such as the Seljuks or the Safavids. However, due to changing political borders over time, they have since been scattered all around the globe. The one feature that makes these minarets identifiable as Iranian style is their brickwork and decorations, typically located alongside Iranian main roads of the past.

Historically, these single minarets were used to guide travelers. Today, most of them are located on the outskirts of cities and have been left to decay. Some minarets have a fireplace on top that used to be lit during the night to guide travelers or to mark the entrance of cities.

Minarets are one of the few high-rise structures in Iran’s past architecture that typically have a circular or octagonal plan and become narrower as they increase in height. They are often adorned with intricate decorations or tiling. Today, there is much debate about how these minarets can be restored or revived, as they no longer serve their original function, and assigning new purposes to them is challenging.

From a cultural and historical standpoint, it is essential to preserve and restore them. However, many of these minarets in Iran and Afghanistan are being eroded and destroyed over time.

It’s worth noting that the single minarets collected in this article are different from the twin minarets typically found on the porches or roofs of mosques. Single minarets are usually taller and are built alongside roads to guide travelers, whereas twin minarets are lower and exist as urban or religious symbols typically found in Islamic mosques.