AskDefine | Define minaret

Dictionary Definition

minaret n : slender tower with balconies

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From the minare, from the manārä ("lighthouse"). Entered into English around 1682.

Noun

  1. the tall slender tower of an Islamic mosque, from which the muezzin recites the adhan (call to prayer)
    • 2005, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Pashazade, page 37, paragraph 2
      And in the background of the picture, just out of focus behind the man, was a soaring minaret outlined against a shockingly blue sky.

Translations

mosque tower

Bosnian

Etymology

From minare < .

Noun

  1. minaret

Declension

Synonyms

Croatian

Etymology

From minare < .

Noun

  1. minaret

Declension

Synonyms

Dutch

Noun

minaret (p: minaretten)
  1. minaret

Polish

Noun

minaret (p: minarety)
  1. minaret

Serbian

Etymology

From minare < .

Noun

  1. minaret

Declension

Synonyms

Extensive Definition

For the mountain formation, see Minarets (California).
Minarets (Arabic manara (lighthouse) منارة, but more usually مئذنة) are distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques. Minarets are generally tall spires with onion-shaped crowns, usually either free standing or much taller than any surrounding support structure.

Functions of Minaret

As well as providing a visual cue to a Muslim community, the call to prayer is traditionally given from the top of the minaret. In some of the oldest mosques, such as the Great Mosque of Damascus, minarets originally served as watchtowers illuminated by torches (hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light"). In more recent times, the main function of the minaret was to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call out the adhan, calling the faithful to prayer. In most modern Mosques, the adhan is called not in the minaret, but in the musallah, or prayer hall, via a microphone and speaker system.
In a practical sense, these are also used for natural air conditioning. As the sun heats the dome, air is drawn in through open windows and up and out of the shaft, thereby causing a natural ventilation.
Minarets have been described as the "gate from heaven and earth", and as the Arabic language letter alif (which is a straight vertical line).
The world's tallest minaret (at 210 meters) is located at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. The world's tallest brick minaret is Qutub Minar located in Delhi, India. There are two 230 meter tall minarets under construction in Tehran, Iran.

Construction

Minarets basically consist of three parts: a base, shaft, and a gallery. For the base, usually the ground underneath the towering minarets is excavated until a hard foundation is reached. Gravel and other supporting materials may be used as a foundation, and it is rare that one is built directly upon ground-level soil. Single minarets within an elongated body are either conical (tapering at the top), cylindrical (a circular shaft) or polygonal (with edges, as opposed to cylindrical). Stairs circle the shaft in a counter-clockwise fashion, providing the necessary structural support for highly elongated shafts. The gallery is a balcony which encircles the upper section where the muezzin will give the call to prayer. It is covered by a roof-like canopy and adorned with ornamentation, such as decorative brick and tile work, cornices, arches and inscriptions. Originally plain in style, a minaret's origin in time can be determined by the level of the gallery's ostentation.

Local Styles

Styles and architecture can vary widely according to region and time period. Here are a few styles and the localities from which they derive:

Examples

Mosque at Tarim, Yemen, is measured 53 metres (175 ft) high

Opposition to minarets

See also: Minaret controversy in Switzerland
As a symbolic marker of Muslim presence, minarets have occasionally elicited political and religious opposition in traditionally non-Muslim countries. Notably, in 2007 Swiss right-wing politicians, including leaders of the co-governing Swiss People's Party, announced the launch of a people's initiative that would amend the constitution to prohibit the building of minarets (but not of mosques themselves). Switzerland has currently only two minarets, in Zürich and Geneva, but the construction of several others is being planned.

References

External links

minaret in Arabic: مئذنة
minaret in Bashkir: Манара
minaret in Bosnian: Munara
minaret in Bulgarian: Минаре
minaret in Catalan: Minaret
minaret in Czech: Minaret
minaret in Welsh: Minaret
minaret in Danish: Minaret
minaret in German: Minarett
minaret in Estonian: Minarett
minaret in Spanish: Minarete
minaret in Esperanto: Minareto
minaret in French: Minaret
minaret in Hindi: मीनार
minaret in Croatian: Minaret
minaret in Italian: Minareto
minaret in Hebrew: צריח (מסגד)
minaret in Georgian: მინარეთი
minaret in Luxembourgish: Minarett
minaret in Lithuanian: Minaretas
minaret in Hungarian: Minaret
minaret in Dutch: Minaret
minaret in Japanese: ミナレット
minaret in Norwegian: Minaret
minaret in Norwegian Nynorsk: Minaret
minaret in Polish: Minaret
minaret in Portuguese: Minarete
minaret in Russian: Минарет
minaret in Slovak: Minaret
minaret in Serbian: Минарет
minaret in Finnish: Minareetti
minaret in Swedish: Minaret
minaret in Tamil: மினார்
minaret in Telugu: మీనార్
minaret in Turkish: Minare
minaret in Ukrainian: Мінарет
minaret in Chinese: 叫拜樓

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antenna tower, barbican, belfry, bell tower, campanile, colossus, column, cupola, derrick, dome, fire tower, lantern, lighthouse, martello, martello tower, mast, monument, obelisk, observation tower, pagoda, pilaster, pillar, pinnacle, pole, pylon, pyramid, shaft, skyscraper, spire, standpipe, steeple, stupa, television mast, tope, tour, tower, turret, water tower, windmill tower
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